David and Gill Young’s daughter Lily-Mae is in her A level year. She is considering become a Paramedic and with this in mind completed two weeks of experience last year in a hospital in the Dominican Republic.
How did you end up in the Dominican Republic?
I went out with an organisation called Gap Medics who have a project there. They picked us up from the airport (3 others were also with me) and we stayed in a big house about 10 minutes away from the hospital. We were in a city called La Romana, and we were also not too far away from the beach!
What was it like spending your days in the hospital there?
You wouldn’t think it, but I loved every minute! Although we were there to mainly observe we were also able to help a little with basic medical procedures. In the Emergency department we saw all sorts of things – cuts, bruises, breaks and vomit – and worse! A highlight for me was also that I cut the umbilical cord on a newborn baby! I found the whole experience really valuable and it has not put me off wanting to be a Paramedic. The drive to and from the hospital was also eye-opening as we were confronted with a lot of poverty.
Did you meet any interesting people there?
Our translator Jessica was an inspiration. She came from Haiti. She was about 22 years old, working with us all day, then studying at night for her degree before doing another job in a bakery – all to make ends meet and try and secure a better future for herself. It made me realise how little money some people in other parts of the world have, and how fortunate we are. I am also grateful in a new way for our own National Health System which serves so many and is free for us to use.