It was a mountaintop revelation in Haiti. Wasn’t I doing the noble thing volunteering as a nurse in this remote location? That was until they brought me the feverish newborn, one who would have received hospitalization here in the United States. There was no pediatrician in sight. I was it. Although intentionally in Haiti, I found myself unintentionally out of my scope of practice.
Unwrapping a tight bandana encircling the infant’s head, I discovered it had been used to capture drainage from a fulminating ear canal. The baby’s mother was dead. Handing a bottle of amoxicillin to a caring aunt, I gave dosing and ear care instructions.
Since that mountaintop moment, I have come to believe that everyone deserves quality healthcare, and that often requires someone licensed to dispense prescription drugs. Developing countries such as Haiti have weak governments and little enforcement of laws. Haiti is now an unwitting victim of workers who overstep their boundaries and act as medical providers, especially in rural areas. I now never work in a Haitian clinic without a prescriber for patients.