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Medicine & Healthcare in Mexico by Olivia Raglan

About to watch surgery

My trip to Mexico will probably be one of the most memorable summers of my life. Not only did I get the opportunity to shadow Mexican doctors as they attended surgery and clinics, but I got to travel around what is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and hospitable countries in the world. Not to mention sampling the infamous Mexican Tequila.

My daily routine involved waking up at 6am to be on the hospital ward for 7.30am for a prompt briefing about the patient's from the Senior House Officer. After the Consultant's arrival, the paediatric medical firm I was attached to would carry out a ward round, usually spanning two or three wards within the hospital.

In our scrubs

Three days a week we would then enter the Operating Theatre to observe various procedures such as cholecystectomy, appendectomy and hip replacements. The Operating Theatre staff were very friendly and gave me permission to enter theatres where surgeons from different specialities (e.g. orthopaedics) were performing other procedures. As a medical volunteer, you do more than just watch; you are encouraged to get your hands dirty too!

Every weekend several volunteers and I would travel together to some of Guadalajara's neighbouring towns and villages, such as Puerto Vallarta, Tequila, Chapala and we also had a visit to the turtle camp project - Campamento Tecoman, which is on the Pacific Coast.

Observing in the operating theatre

I felt privileged to be in the unique position of living amongst a Mexican family; they brought me into their home and I became one of the family. We would often cook traditional Mexican food together and since my return to London I have tried to capture the essence of Mexican cooking on several occasions (but it just isn't the same).

My parting words of advice: Go to Mexico; travel, sample the food and absorb as much of the culture as you can - you will have a unique experience that I guarantee you will remember for the rest of your life!

Olivia Raglan

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