Posted January 25, 2010
Kyle Dempsey '11 received both Global Citizens and Preston Public Interest Career grants to volunteer for ten weeks this past summer at El Hospital Escuela Oscar Danilo Rosales de la Ciudad de Leon, an urban public hospital in Nicaragua.
In addition to providing healthcare for Nicaragua’s second largest city, the hospital also trains doctors and other medical providers. In a typical day, Kyle attended meetings for the resident doctors, scrubbed into a surgery, observed other surgeries in the operating rooms, and cared for patients in the emergency room—which included administering anesthesia, inserting stomach tubes, and writing orders for blood tests and medication.
Kyle would not have had such hands-on experiences if he were interning in the United States, which is in part why he applied to the program. He also just wanted to be of assistance to physicians in an overcrowded clinic.
It was his Spanish professor, Genie Wheelwright, who connected him to the doctors in Leon as a place that could use help—and help Kyle improve his Spanish in the process.
Now, inspired by the dedication of the doctors who worked in the hospital, Kyle plans to eventually open his own clinic—once he becomes a doctor—to serve low-income patients who are unable to afford health insurance in the United States.
Since returning, Kyle has given several presentations to the Bowdoin and Brunswick communities about his work abroad and has rallied students to help him fundraise for the hospital-- to date they have raised over $1,500. To address the on-going staff and supply shortages, he has partnered the hospital with an international volunteer database to send several well-trained medical professionals to work at the hospital and has partnered the hospital with Partners for World Health which has provided the hospital with much-needed medical supplies.
“This volunteer experience has been pivotal in solidifying my aspirations as a future physician.”
— Kyle Dempsey '11