"I worked in an environment where lab tests were scarce and would take over eight hours, so they did not help in diagnosing patients with acute illnesses. X-rays were limited and there were no other imaging studies available. The ultrasound was instrumental in patient care. It was used to diagnose a case of acute appendicitis which needed emergent surgery, an ectopic pregnancy in a woman who needed to be rushed to the operating room, and for visualizing abdominal masses, determining if an abscess needed to be drained, diagnosing pericardial effusions and tamponade, evaluating heart failure, diagnosing hernias, and looking for free fluid in patients with abdominal trauma to determine if they had internal bleeding. It was amazing how it was used to save lives in a country that has such limited medical access. It served as our main (and sometimes only) technical diagnostic tool."
Jessica Ngo, MD, Stanford Emergency Medicine, Clinical Instructor