By Kathy Brook
I spent the peak season this year working with the dedicated team at The Lake Clinic, Cambodia. I have taken time away for my GP training in Southwest England to volunteer with TLC.
The months I spent living and working with TLC were a privilege in many ways. Consulting with patients in partnership with the Cambodian doctors and allied health professionals was a great opportunity to share knowledge and experience. Travelling to the lake villages and spending days living and working there was great fun. I loved being part of the TLC team and taking part in the daily routine of sleeping, eating, socialising and working all in the same floating clinic room.
Transport on the lake takes many ingenious forms!
The clinical work was varied and interesting. Much of the chronic diseases and childhood infections were not dissimilar to cases I would see in general practice at home, in contrast to the occasional snake bite or very advanced presentation.
Young girl having her temperature and weight/height measured.
Without the opportunity to arrange diagnostic tests and without the safety net to see patients the next day/week, the consultation is both more challenging and more straight forward.
Highlights of my time with TLC include stopping for sticky rice with the team on the way back from the lake clinics…
…and of course sitting down altogether at the end of the day for a feast lovely prepared by Channy or Satya!
The challenge for me was in hearing the patients’ narratives – poverty and difficult social situations with no hope of improvement. The stoicism I encountered and the warmth from so many of the villagers I met will stay with me. I feel lucky to have worked here and hope to return in the coming years.