Health Program Highlight: The Lahn Medical Brigade

Doctor and Bridges Board Member, Michael Lahn, and 4 fellow medical professionals took off for Siuna, Nicaragua in mid-November. Knowing that many people travel on foot for hours to reach the health post in Hormiguero where the medical brigades are typically stationed, Dr. Lahn decided instead to travel into the remote communities to assess and treat those who were too sick to make the trip.

The group visited the community of El Consuelo, a 2 hour walk or 1.5 hour boat ride from Hormiguero. Bridges staff made local health leaders aware of the team’s visit in advance so they could get the word out to residents. The community recently built a health post that is staffed with 1 nurse, no doctors. Dr. Lahn’s team was the first medical brigade to visit this community.

“This area was the most rural and poorest area I have ever been in,” said Dr. Lahn. “Many people who came to see us that day traveled 8 hours and left their homes at 1 A.M. to get to us.”

Dr. Lahn’s team saw 100 patients and vaccinated 28 children. One of the patients was a 28 day old infant with a fever of 103.  The child was brought from the Inocente community, about one hour by foot from El Consuelo.

“This was a very serious emergency. Untreated, infants like this have a very high mortality, quickly,” Dr. Lahn explained. “We injected the baby with some broad-spectrum antibiotics and made arraignments to have him brought to Hormiguero for likely transfer to the Hospital in Siuna. We saw the baby later that night in Hormiguero after our boat ride back.  The child looked better and he felt like his fever was down and he looked more alert.

We had many sick patients that day. There was a much higher percentage of very sick patients in El Consuelo than on any other clinic day. We are planning on making this a routine visit on our trips.”