Monday, June 16, 2008

Dr. Niko/Nick


A little bit of first aid knowledge combined with first aid supplies from home and the Peace Corps has really come in handy in helping villagers with their numerous maladies. It seems wearing a bandage or getting a pill from Dr. Niko is becoming more popular. Here is a sampling of cases:
These are the most common cases, usually from machetes while working on the plantations or cuts to the bottom of bare feet from coral, nails, glass, bottle caps, or nails. To stop bleeding Samoans use a plant they call a Chinese Fruit from which they make a black, mud-like paste. This stuff really works! A torn piece of cloth serves as their bandage. Most of the time I see the wound the next day. Betadine antiseptic, Neosporin, and numerous sized gauze bandages, bandaids, and tape serve to keep out infections until scar material fills in the wound. Patients are very good about coming back to be redressed with a new badge of courage.
Headaches, toothaches, joint aches are treated with Ibuprofen, the miracle drug which seems to maybe not cure, but relieve the pain.
A Pepto-Bismo tablet looks pretty, doesn’t taste bad, and may even help.
Skin Infections:
Rashes, boils, ringworm, scabies, and innumerable bacterial infections are considered normal. Almost everyone has them. No one has come for treatment.
Haven’t seen any. Thank goodness. Although with all the cooking done on open fires, and roasting cocoa on hot metal sheets, one would expect to see them, but they are probably just accepted as normal, except for the very serious.
America’s most common medical problem is non-existent in Samoa.

A Patient

Machete Slash to Foot

1 comment:

Teri said...

That's quite a wound on that young man. The question is, why don't native Samoans develop the serious staph infections from cuts and abrasions like Mary had? Or maybe they do. Maybe they've built up resistance over time since they are native to the tropical climate there.

In any case, I'm glad they have Dr Niko to help out!