Monday, September 25, 2006
Medical Search Engines
I feel real guilty when I sit at the computer and go to my favorite medical search engine. Working in Haiti plays with my mind all of the time.
For example, if I search “pediatric pneumonias” I find all of the latest information that exists. The search engine tells me how to diagnose pediatric pneumonias, which microbe is most likely the cause, what the chest x-rays look like with this type of pneumonia, and which babies with pneumonia should be hospitalized. Everything is nice and neat and the protocols have been developed by specialists that rate their recommendations for clinicians in the trenches like me.
I am very appreciative of the physicians and scientists and researchers who compile information and put it into easily understood written material on search engines for me.
In Haiti, it would be nice to have a search engine available that would give recommendations regarding issues such as these:
1.What does the physician do when the mother can neither read nor write?
2.Who should pay for the chest x-ray for the baby when the mother has no money and no food to give her children?
3.Who will pay for medication when it is needed to treat the pediatric pneumonia?
4.When should I ask the mother and baby to return to the clinic because travel is dangerous and mother needs money for transportation and for the follow up visit for the baby?
5.Who will take care of the mother’s children at home while she is taking her sick baby to the doctor?
6.Who will make sure the mother understands the proper dosing of the baby’s medication including acetaminophen which comes in all different strengths?
7.Where will the mother find clean water to add to the antibiotic powder and where will she refrigerate the medication?
8.Who will sit down and spend some time with the mother explaining the issues regarding the baby that would warn the mother that the baby is failing outpatient therapy?
9.If I "elect" to admit the baby, who will pay for the admission to the hospital? Also, how will mom tell her family that she will be staying with the baby and not returning home for a few days?
If I do a Boolean search, should I search “pneumonia and pediatric and illiteracy and no money and no support and Haiti"?