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Vixey Silva - Pre-clinical Observation in Mexico

Published: Monday, 27 Jun 2016
Author: Cheryl Ann Benner
Department: Office for Education Abroad

Name: Vixey Silva

Status: Junior

Major: Human Biology & Nutritional Sciences

Hometown: Farmington Hills, Michigan

Program: Pre-clinical Observation in Merida, Mexico


Visiting the Merida, Mexico was an eye opening experienced that widened my knowledge on health care systems around the world. The supervisors in Mexico place great emphasis on making patients and their family members feel comfortable. For example, a doctor I shadowed talked in a gentle and soothing voice to her grumpy patient, she even rubbed her hands together for a while to make sure her hands were warm before touching her patient's stomach. Once the doctor finished checking on the patient, she left to speak to his wife to explain her husband's diagnosis, how to take care of him, and eased any other concerns. Doctors in the U.S rarely spend more than 5 minutes in a room with patients nor do they make it a priority most of the time to inform all their family members.


Although Especialidad showed tremendous efforts in making sure patients and family members are comfortable this wasn't the same for Yucatan's primary hospital which consisted of overcrowded emergency and waiting rooms, naked patients on beds in the hallway leading to the small emergency room, and patients in the middle of the hallway their gowns with IV's hanging out of their arms. It was shocking to see such a drastic difference in the two environments because I figured sanitation is the number one priority in an environment with drastically sick people and easy means of cross contamination.


While touring the hospitals I noticed an interesting characteristic, unique to hospitals in the Yucatan peninsula. Signs around the hospital were in Spanish, as well as Mayan. The Mayan's have great influence on the culture of the people living in the Yucatan peninsula. This was evident when our group learned about the history of this civilization during our visit to Ishmael. There was great detail and thought behind the architecture in the Mayan ruins. Also, carefully embroidered traditional outfits that date back to the Mayan centuries, add color and life to the streets of Merida. There were also many delicious traditional dishes like pollo ticuleño (chicken baked in banana leaves) and pavo en relleno negro (turkey in a black chile paste). The people of Yucatan were happy, excited, and open to sharing their culture with us.


The health care system is a very complex field to be a part of. You need to be able to problem solve and put pieces together of a patient's story in order to properly diagnose them. It is a very difficult and demanding career, and you really need to have the passion for not only the career itself, but for the patients as well. After being a part of this program, it has really reaffirmed my passion in wanting to become apart of the healthcare system. I want to be a reconstructive surgeon that donates their time to under privileged communities that cannot afford the help on their own. While being able to experience the surgeries, births of babies, and the experience of working in an under privileged community - I have reassured myself that I have chosen the best career path for myself. The career path fits every checkpoint I had listed for myself and all that I want to accomplish while working in this field.