Our second MEDCAP in the Thuong Duc schoolyard was better attended. Captain Cavagnol was more interested in the social aspects of it and wanted us to make a positive connection the the people.
Doc Furman was constrained by a lack of medical supplies. We were capable of treating a gunshot wound or other types of trauma, but could do very little for everyday health issues.
The little girl with the ear infection was reevaluated, and her fever had dropped. We taught them how to gargle with salt water for a sore throat, and the kids laughed throughout the lesson. Some gagged in the process which added to the comedy. One kid was laughing at his own laugh, as if he had never experienced laughing before.
A pregnant woman wanted to know if her baby was OK so Furman let her listen to the heartbeat with his stethoscope. Everyone was excited to hear it, and she went away happy with a small bottle of Vitamin C pills.
We ended our health care clinic at noon, and Cavagnol was satisfied that we had made some friends. Furman and I ate lunch together in the medical tent, and he issued his evaluation . . . “We gave them positive memories of Americans which would stay with them far longer than any health benefits received.”
The recollection of the MEDCAP has also stayed with me. I remember the faces of the kids changing from little or no trust to smiles and innocent laughter. Kids are kids everywhere, but the struggle of poverty in the stressed environment of war is hard to overcome. Trust was elusive on all sides as it required letting your guard down . . . war is universally traumatic.