Erin Shufflebarger, MD
Erin Shufflebarger, MD
Resident Physician · Birmingham, AL

Emergency Medicine in Western Kenya

September 21st
Bomet, Kenya

Project Description

I will be working in the emergency department at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya. I plan to use what I’ve learned in training thus far to deliver emergency care to those who come through the ED, but I’ll be learning many new things as Iwill be practicing emergency medicine in a resource limited environment which I’ve never had the opportunity to do. I will also spend time in the ICU of this hospital, continuing to learn about the management of critically ill patients in resource limited settings.
Currently this hospital does not have physician staffing in the Emergency Department. I hope my presence along with the presence of other EM faculty that I’ll be traveling with will make a difference both in the care of the individual patient’s we are a part of treating, but also I hope we can be part of education for the mid-level providers currently staffing the ED there. It will also make a difference for me personally as I will gain knowledge and experience from practicing emergency medicine in a new environment. Also, I’m considering a global health fellowship, and I anticipate this trip will be significant in whether or not I decide to pursue this further training.

Population Served

I anticipate that many will benefit. First, I anticipate that I will personally benefit from the experience and that those I’ll be traveling with will also benefit. Second, I anticipate that the patients we provide care to will benefit. Third, I anticipate that the hospital as an institution will benefit from having emergency trained providers in the ED, as they currently have non-EM trained mid-level providers staffing their ED.
I’ve spent time on short term trips where we set up clinics abroad to provide care for 1-2 weeks, but I think what’s different about this experience and this population is that I’ll be experiencing a different model of international medicine. This experience will be at an established hospital in Kenya where patients can go to get care throughout the year even when we’re gone. This hospital was chosen especially because they’re in the process of building their emergency department and are interested in training their staff specifically in emergency medicine, which hasn’t been present in the past. This hospital has robust medicine and surgery departments which makes an ideal environment to practice emergency medicine.

Expected Impact

As mentioned above, I anticipate the impact personally to be educational and also guiding in my future career path as I decide if I am going to pursue further training in international medicine. I also hope our presence will impact the hospital. They are currently expanding their emergency department, and I hope our presence will fuel further progress as they expand the physical space and the emergency specific knowledge of the providers in their facility.
Learning more about practicing in resource limited settings will be beneficial no matter where I end up practicing. I know most community hospitals don’t have the resources that the academic settings where I’m currently training at have, so this experience will benefit me in my future career both practicing in the US and abroad. I hope to bring back what I learn and present it to the residents in an effort to encourage more to use opportunities for elective time abroad.

Trip Photos & Recap

This trip was spent in the emergency room of the local mission hospital. We took care of critically ill medical/trauma/pediatric patients and had the opportunity to help teach Kenyan clinical officers and residents about emergency medicine and point of care ultrasound use for diagnosis and procedures in the ED/ICU.
I learned so many things about caring for critically ill patients in a resource limited setting. The hospital places an emphasis on providing excellent physical and spiritual care for the patients and providing excellent training opportunities for surgical and medical residents. I hope to come back some time soon!