Medicine in Mexico

Last Tuesday was my first day at El Hospital General de Cholula. I will be interning there twice a week for the next six weeks. After that, I will switch to El Hospital General del Norte for the rest of my rotations. These rotations are unlike any that I might experience in the states because the medical education system here in Mexico is rather different than the one in the US. 

In the United States, a prospective medical student must attend an undergraduate university for four years, apply and be accepted into a medical school for four years, then obtain a residency program for three years, and potentially a fellowship for an additional year before practicing on their own. In Mexico, first year medical students are fresh out of high school! You start classes in what would be your freshman year of college. Of the first years that I know here, they are taking more classes that I could ever handle: upwards of eight classes at one time! For reference, I am currently taking a full load by Notre Dame standards at five classes. I don’t know how they do it! The Mexican system involves around six years of classwork and a year of service in Mexico. The newly coated physicians are sent by the government to an area of need within the country for a full year! I wish our system had that kind of service built into it. 

What does this mean? We are treated as medical students here and are given full access to anything we want to do. Within our own comfort ranges, of course.

I am rotating with pediatrics for the first two weeks of rotations. It was wonderful to see a child be born but was also heartbreaking to have to witness another baby die due to the poor education of his mother. My attending doctor is very kind and speaks nice and slowly for me. He makes sure that I understand what’s going on before he moves forward — despite the looks I might get from the residents. I’ve seen two surgeries thus far: a galbladder removal (where I couldn’t see much) and a cesarian section (where I saw way too much). 

I am looking forward to going back next week and learning as much as I can from this experience. I will be rotating through pediatrics, gynecology, emergency medicine and surgery while I’m at this hospital!  Everyone has had very interesting experiences within each of our rotations. At my hospital, one girl is being allowed to scrub in and learn how to make stitches next time and another person had to hold a leg as it got amputated today! It’s a crazy life here in Mexico! Love it!

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