By Dr. Wil Johson, GMT Medical Director
Our life's journey is of asking the right questions, truly listening to the answers, critically analyzing, and moving from relative ignorance to a more enlightened first hand knowledge of the world. This process will provide answers to the above question.
''The rich are different than you and me'',..F Scott Fitzgerald..[?Great Gatsby].
If you accept this assertion and take the magnitude of difference, increase it cruelly and exponentially...observe...reflect...then perhaps a better understanding of the poor, oppressed and exploited in the world will emerge.
If you do not accept this assertion because you choose to focus on the commonality of humanity, consider their situation anyway.
If they see no hope, they join a community bonded by a shared suffering that the rest of us might ignore or do not see or choose not to see. They come to feel ultimately united [and equal] only in the realm of death.
In the end, perhaps that which matters most are the questions we have asked, the ropes we have thrown and those we have grasped. Could this be, in part if not entirely, an answer to...What IS the meaning of life?
If we ask the right questions, there will be no wrong answers.
We do these trips to ask questions, become enlighted by the answers, and then convert this to action.
Your presence on this trip tells me that you have chosen NOT to ignore and that you will live a live of considered action.
The GMT clinic model provides a real, hands-on, supervised Medical experience.
This is a dynamic, interactive way of learning. Combined with intentional reflection on the experience, insights can be gained that can be transformed into action and further exploration. In our setting, this should fan the sparks of humanism that attract students into the medical profession in the first place.
Place this within the larger framework of the concrete trip experiences and a transformation into remarkable personal knowledge takes place. The pieces of this patchwork quilt will come together, they connect coherently, and we then see the larger patterns. This provides enlighted answers from which we can analytically extract the next better questions..on and on. Soon we must convert this into action to benefit others.
This is conceptually how the Medical Assessment process works in our clinics [using the SOAP format]...this is how one's life can best proceed AND progress.
Remember, your medical patient rarely provides 'wrong answers'...in fact, there may be no wrong answers, just the wrong questions. Keep asking though and you will hit upon the right ones. We will help and you will be amazed at how quickly you catch onto it. The medical neophyte is not expected to know many of the right questions initially. In addition, the medical jargon, and terminology can be daunting. This is frustrating, but try not to allow this to discourage or overwhelm you. By the 2nd clinic and beyond you will increasingly get the hang of it. I and the other professionals are there to guide you along. We know you are here to learn these things.
Also, remember that although you do much of the patient assessment process, that a clinic Doctor is ultimately and entirely responsible for the final diagnosis and treatment. NO PATIENT LEAVES OUR CLINIC WITHOUT A DOCTOR'S DECISION AND SIGNATURE. It is not ethical or reasonable to be otherwise. Wil Johnson, MD