Reflections on a Medical Service Trip: Did we do the right thing?

  • Rene Franco Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Chirag Desai
  • William Firth
  • Harold M. Szerlip
Keywords: service trips, medical education, international rotations


Medical service trips have a long and distinguished history. In the United States,interest in medical outreach trips has grown substantially, as medical schools andnon-governmental organizations support numerous overseas endeavors at an estimatedcost of 250 million dollars a year. Although providing care to those in need is arewarding experience, the question that needs to be answered is whether these tripsdo more harm than good. We describe our experience during a medical service trip toEnsenada, Mexico. We treated over 500 people for numerous problems, but due to thelack of services were not able to monitor or ensure follow-up. Did we do more harmby providing medications that can have serious side effects? Recommendations havebeen developed to help short-term international medical service trips provide the bestoverall experience for the participants and the best care for the patients.


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How to Cite
Franco, R., Desai, C., Firth, W., & Szerlip, H. M. (2013). Reflections on a Medical Service Trip: Did we do the right thing?. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles, 1(4), 60-62. Retrieved from