Posted By: Kris Radder on November 1, 2010

Labels: Guyana , Humanitarian Aid, Volunteers

As Project HOPE volunteers begin work in Suriname, Dr. Ruth Hart reflects on her time in Guyana.

Dr. Ruth Hart is an attending emergency medicine physician and also a medical coordinator for the New York State Health Department Office of Professional Medical Conduct. While Dr. Hart has been working in the medical field for over 30 years, she still appreciates what it is like to be a brand new doctor.

"I still remember the day I walked into the emergency room and I was no longer a student," she says. "I walked into the examining room and the first patient I saw had been assaulted. He was very beaten up. I remember running back out of the room to the doctor I was partnering with and telling that physician this patient needs a doctor, now. My partner, who was more experienced then me, looked at me, and put his hands on my shoulder and turned me around, and said, 'You are the doctor.'"

"That was a big moment," Dr. Hart continues. "I was no longer being supervised, and I realized that I was the one where the buck would stop."

Dr. Hart has now expanded her work beyond the emergency room walls on her first volunteer mission with Project HOPE.

"I didn't know what to expect at first," she says. But after being involved and watching the setups of the sites, she was impressed with the organization of the medical clinics. "I think the best part was was seeing the patients in Guyana," she adds. "The people were very lovely and very excited to be seen."

Dr. Hart says she made a point to try to make an impact with every person sitting in front of her, whoever the patient may be.

"I learned a lot by asking them about their jobs, like their work in the sugar cane fields and other various farming jobs," she says. "I was impressed that education was very important in the country, it was a very positive experience."

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