Becca DeHority '12 removing a plaster cast from the leg of a patient.
Clinic in Cape Town
Stabbings, assault and drug induced psychosis are just a few of the cases psychology major Becca DeHority ’12 sees on a regular basis at her internship this summer. Through funding from the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, DeHority is interning at a day clinic in the black township of Guguletu outside of Cape Town, South Africa. She has had the chance to work in both the Trauma department and the labor ward and is currently working in the HIV/AIDS clinic.
DeHority admits that dealing with difficult situations has been an adjustment, saying “It has been very eye opening and humbling to work in an area with so much poverty. Medically I have seen more things in the clinic than you would ever encounter in the typical ER in the United States. Culturally, the townships are completely different than anything I have ever encountered. Due to the extreme poverty there is more of a survival mentality.”
DeHority has also had to adjust to a language barrier. While most of her patients speak English, their native language is Xhosa, which is a language that is a mixture of speech and clucks. She recounts one humorous story about a time when a man came in with a hurt foot. The clinic staff explained that he needed to find a way to ice it perhaps with some frozen vegetables or chicken. He sat back and thought about it, then replied, "But, I don't have any live chickens at home!"
DeHority does not have a typical day or routine. “Everyday something completely unexpected happens. I arrive at the clinic at 8:30 am and work straight through the day taking a half hour lunch break around 12pm. The day ends around 4pm. So far I have done everything from putting up IV lines, bandaging wounds, stitching up a stab wound, putting on and removing plaster casts, given injections, and delivered babies. Something new, unexpected, shocking, and exciting happens on a daily basis.”
As a pre-med student, Becca DeHority says that the internship has had a great impact on her future plans. “It has solidified for me that I will spend a portion of my time as a future physician working in under-served populations.”
--Stephen W. Handlon ’13