Catherine Ward travelled to Israel to work in the oldest hospital in the Middle East – the EMMS Nazareth Hospital. She was based in the 24-hour emergency room where most of her patients were women suffering from hyperventilation syndrome (HVS).
HVS is a nonadaptive response to anxiety, with a higher prevalence in females and sometimes referred to as ’Nazareth disease’. Catherine reported that patients exhibited a bizarre, dramatic and wide-ranging set of symptoms. The syndrome is managed with breathing techniques and a series of medications. Catherine explored the mental and physical consequences of cultural trauma in the region and emphasised the importance of considering how historical events affect the health and well-being of patients.
Mao Lim undertook his elective at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Clinically, he was attached to the outpatient team where he covered cases spanning general haematology, thalassemia, sickle cell, haemophilia and oncology.
Mao gained a more “nuanced perspective” of the US health system during his placement. He explained that unlike the NHS, US practitioners spend more time dealing with insurance policies, political influences and the entrepreneurial side of medicine, rather than solely focusing on providing care.