Doctors without Borders in Ethiopia: Among the Afar

By Nyla Jo Jones Hubbard | Go to book overview

PREFACE: SIGNING UP FOR A LIFE WITHOUT BORDERS

Friends have asked, “Whatever possessed you to go to Ethiopia?”
These things develop.

In part, it was frustration with the whole US medical system. I’m a Medical Technologist (recently renamed Medical Laboratory Scientist), and have worked in the clinical laboratory for over 35 years. Many of the tests I run are “CYA medicine,” not ordered because the patient needs them but because the doctor doesn’t want any lawyer to be able to ask in the future “Doctor, given the patient’s diagnosis (which, of course, hadn’t been made at the time), shouldn’t you have ordered a -?,” then going on to name some esoteric test which may not, in fact, have aided in the diagnosis or altered the outcome for the patient but which surely would have driven up the cost of care. All of us would like to feel that our work is pertinent and to get some feedback when our tests make a difference in the treatment of the patient. Gone is the day when a lab tech routinely visited the ward to draw blood. The lab is far separated now from that bedside. We seldom see a patient, and positive feedback is hard to come by.

Then there’s family creed. I was raised and remain Quaker. The idea of service is not preached so much as it is absorbed. The family of my great-great grandmother was active in the Underground Railroad in

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