I am a 38 y/o family physician who has been surfing since I was 5. I recently flew down to Nicaragua to chase a swell (got some really fun waves). While I was in the country I serendipitously was called into action. A young 17 y/o got smacked in his eye with his board-thankfully the injury did not effect his cornea or other important structures. He did however cut his lower lid and was scared he lost his eye.
With little to no first aid kit available (except a hodgepodge I had made and brought with me)-I got him back to our camp, examined the cut, irrigated the wound, applied ice and gave him some anti-inflammatories. I also had some erythromycin ointment which I applied to the wound. I assured the kid that everything would be fine and he was not going to lose the eye-his major concern. Amazingly, in 6 hours his swelling has ceased, his eye was open and he was smiling!
I thought to myself at that moment, I want to do this from now on-surf and help other surfers who get hurt while traveling.
Also, solidifying the above desire was my own injury I sustained in the early part of this same trip. I was surfing Playa Hermosa alone- head high fun peeling lefts- when suddenly I was struck in my right arm/axcilla by a fish! Blood started pulsating out from my right inner biceps and fear, for a moment, dug in its heels. I paddled in, applied pressure and inspected the wound. It needed stitches-as I was going to be down there for another 2 weeks!
I eventually found a “clinic” and a “doctor” who did his best to stitch up my cut. As I was laying there with geckos crawling on the ceiling he jabbed me-while whistling and sweating bullets- repeatedly with what seemed like a 6-0 shoelace via a sowing needle.
He eventually closed the wound and I went on my way- but wow, what an experience! Thankfully I had my own syringes and needles and was up to date on my tetanus. I got some antibiotics at the local pharmacy and empirically treated my self. What an eye opening experience!
I email you because when I opened the October 2012 of Surfer, there you and your organization was! I thought; I want to do what he does!
a. Do you take volunteer American doctors?
b. Do you have any Central American connections?
c. Any recommendations on how I can incorporate this lifestyle into a career?
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my story. I hope to hear from you soon!