Mind boggling

I heard some egregious errors today. Here are some of them:

The physician’s assistant was seeing a one year-old boy for the first time. The patient had fever yesterday but was otherwise well. He was playing, smiling and interacting with us. Upon completion of an extremely superficial exam the PA wrote in the chart: “Diagnosis, neonatal sepsis”. (Neonatal means the patient is less than 28 days old and sepsis means severe systemic signs due to an infection).

Over the course of the morning, more than 10 patients had a diagnosis of “severe malaria”. After hearing the diagnosis over and over, I began to question the provider’s conclusions. Not one patient had a malaria test and many turned out to have symptoms suggesting other diseases.

A physician’s assistant was giving a talk on pneumonia. This is a direct quote from her presentation: “Viruses often cause pneumonia and the only way you can treat the virus is if you combine ampicillin and gentamicin”. This is a woman who provides unsupervised care to dying children and she is teaching that antibiotics kill viruses. When I corrected her, she simply said “oh, thank you for teaching me”.

Wow, I thought the training in the DR Congo was bad but this care is worse than I could have ever fathomed.


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