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Amazon Medical Project Inc

Annual Report

May, 2018

Dear Clinic Family, Friends, Neighbors, and Onlookers –

It is time yet again for the Clinica Yanamono/Amazon Medical Project annual report. I am always amazed that another year has passed, but so it goes.

We set no new records for patient numbers in 2017, in fact saw fewer patients than in the prior year or two. No particular reason for this that I can pinpoint, just probably the ebb and flow of life. Even with the decrease, we still tended to a total of over 2,800 patients. About 90% of them had been to the clinic at some time in the past, with about 10% coming for the first time. As usual, somewhat over a third of our patients were male, with a little less than two thirds being, logically, female.


The same ratio held for children and adults, which always confuses me since there seems to be no shortage of children. Although, this statistic is perhaps skewed a bit by the fact that we count people as being children only through the age of 14, since there are more than a few 15 year old parents.

We provided birth control to 333 persons, almost all women, and sent off Pap smears for 17 of them. There were only ten cases of malaria all year, but we saw six poisonous snakebites, reversing a years-long trend of fewer snakebites each year. We treated 82 people of all ages (though mostly very young or very old) for pneumonia, and 200 persons for skin ailments ranging from chicken pox to hives to athlete’s foot to ringworm to herpes zoster (“shingles”). We vaccinated 377 patients, and provided well child care (exam, vaccines, medicine for intestinal parasites, vitamins, dental fluoride treatment, and toothbrushes) for 145 kids. Diarrheal illnesses brought 226 people for care. (Diarrhea is generally a pretty minor problem in developed countries, but in developing ones, it is a major cause of death, especially among small children, and many of these patients required intravenous fluids.)

Canoe Parking

There were 56 cases of trauma, most fairly mild. Every year, there is an assortment of machete and axe cuts, including a nine year old who severed the tendon in one of his fingers, at a time when there was no doctor at the clinic. I was very proud of Elmer and Edgardo, who technically are nurses, for being able to track down and reunite the ends of the tendon, restoring function to the boy’s finger. A seven year old whacked himself in the forehead with his machete while helping to clear weeds at his school (in developed countries, it may be difficult to imagine grade school children using machetes at school, but here, the machete is an everyday tool wielded by everyone, beginning in toddlerhood). A ten year old boy jumped into the river to swim, and collided with a sunken tree trunk, lacerating his forehead.

Both he and the machete-wielder received stitches to close their wounds, as did a number of other patients who had made unintended contact with machetes, knives, or axes. A 55 year old woman who had been celebrating her sister’s arrival from the city by drinking the local sugar cane rum starting in the early morning fell late in the day, cutting her scalp, and also required suturing. Another local man suffered a human bite to his arm when his neighbor (a woman), who had been drinking heavily, became annoyed with him. We had a couple of piranha bites, and a couple of dog bites, none of them too serious. We also saw a couple of people who had been stung by scorpions. The scorpions in these parts do not get to be very large and are not lethal, but they do seem to inflict a very painful wound.

We had a total of 80 emergencies in 2017. Many of the emergencies were people with headaches or bellyaches which occurred outside normal clinic hours, but there were also a number of folks with more severe problems. There were several people who had diarrhea with dehydration requiring intravenous fluids, including a one year old child who was noted to be passing intestinal worms from both ends of his digestive tract (the worms migrate to the lungs, and then sometimes exit through mouth or nose, a distressing occurrence for most parents). One man came in with splinters in both eyes, after using his chainsaw without any eye protection. Luckily, when he came back for a check-up a few weeks later, his vision was back to normal. (We strongly advised him to get protective goggles, and to use them.)


The wife of one of the clinic huatchimanes came in one Sunday afternoon with a fishbone stuck in her throat, and it took considerable effort to get her to pass it, but she finally did. Then there was a 41 year old woman who was brought in unconscious and was found to have both a urinary infection and a nasty dental abscess. We kept her hospitalized for three nights, but she improved with antibiotics and was able to return home.

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