Tag Archives: medical outreach

doanRichard Doan is a Psychiatrist with Inner City Health Associates and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario

 

In Toronto’s first week of true winter weather, two homeless men died on the street, one in a bus shelter in the city’s most public square. He was wearing only jeans, a t-shirt and a hospital identification bracelet.

My street outreach teammates and I saw a slight, older woman who had literally been living in a box for months.* The box was about 6 feet long, 4 feet wide and 3 feet high and was covered by a blue plastic tarp. Her furnishings consisted of a few blankets. The “dwelling” was in an alleyway just behind some shops. The lady was disinterested in any form of housing or treatment and never accessed shelters: she always slept in her box. She repeatedly said that she would soon be moving to a Caribbean island. During a particularly bitter cold spell, we became concerned with her safety, and I completed a form for involuntary psychiatric assessment. The emergency department psychiatrist agreed with me that she likely had chronic schizophrenia, but the client was calm and would not take any medication. She promised the emergency department staff that she would go to a shelter if she was discharged. We made it clear that she was unlikely to do so, but after one night in emergency she was given a subway token to go to a shelter. She disappeared and was lost to follow-up. ...continue reading

1 Comment

neilpollockNeil Pollock is a Clinical Instructor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, and an Associate Professor at Laval University, Montréal, Québec

 

 

Haiti has faced immense challenges since January 2010 when the impoverished nation was shattered by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that led to more than 100 000 deaths. After the quake struck, many Haitians lived in tents for years before being moved to cinder-block shantytowns barely better than the sweltering tent cities. At the same time, the country has been hit by outbreaks of cholera and tuberculosis, and currently has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.

Haiti’s First Lady, Sophia Martelly, has made the fight against HIV a priority, and the mission for which I am now preparing was initiated when she contacted Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine and public health at University of California at Los Angeles, and asked him to find an expert willing to train surgeons to carry out quick, safe and painless infant circumcisions. ...continue reading