I learned so much about the healthcare system, the people, and the culture of Eastern Kentucky through my externship with Dr. Zook. It was interesting to learn about the most common illnesses that the people of Eastern Kentucky face, and throughout the week I noticed several themes in the office. For instance many of the patients complained of chronic back pain and anxiety, and many suffered from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Additionally, London Women’s Care recently began a Subutex program to help opium addicts into recovery. Prior to my externship, I was unaware of just how huge a problem substance abuse is in Eastern Kentucky, and it was eyeopening to witness first hand the toll that these drugs take on the lives of their users. Previously, I had no knowledge of Subutex and Suboxone, but I learned a lot about them throughout the week. Suboxone acts as a replacement drug to opiates by blocking the opium receptors in the brain. Unlike opiates however, this drug produces no sense of euphoria, allowing patients to live normal lives. It prevents withdrawal symptoms, and allows patients the opportunity for recovery. London Women’s Care’s Subutex program supplies patients with Subutex while helping take steps to regain control of their lives. Many of the participants are expectant mothers, although both men and women can take part in the program.
I feel so lucky to have been able to take part in this externship so early in my college career. This externship has taught me a lot about the healthcare system and what it means to be a good doctor. This experience has been a great introduction into the world of medicine, and has made me excited to explore the may avenues of the healthcare system as I move forward with my Gettysburg education.