Dr. Casey Patrick recently returned from a volunteer stint with GEC teaching Emergency Care Practitioners…
“The concept of rapid, emergency care which we take for granted in America is not the standard in Uganda. But GECC is helping make it the standard.”
Dr. Omeed Saghafi became involved with GEC when he heard about the organization through his former residency director. He has volunteered for 2 years and helped remotely with some curriculum. Omeed had a strong desire to want to help people since he was 5 years old. Originally, he wanted to “transition his love of science into something more tangible”. In college, he studied bioengineering, wanting to make devices that could help create change throughout the world. While working with surgeons after college, he made the decision to go to medical school and ignited a passion for emergency medicine. When capturing what it means to be a volunteer with GEC, he expressed that you live medicine all day long. By living on hospital grounds, student would stop by to talk to him and ask for assistance with difficult cases in the ER. He mainly functioned in an “attending” role while in Uganda, allowing students to take care of patients as he provided recommendations and taught students on the spot. In addition, Omeed would work with other senior ECP’s to develop lectures and apply them into practice. The most impactful part of the work he contributed was the idea that the students he taught would go on to teach others and save lives.
Omeed believes everyone should have access to basic emergency care, and that GEC is taking major steps to help establish and define what emergency care is in Uganda. Through his time with GEC, he has grown professionally, learning even more about similarities and differences in medicine and delivery of care from another country perspective. The people he has met along the way in Uganda and at GEC have empowered him to continue to work for the organization. The GEC mission is something he is constantly inspired by and saw through the dedication to their students. He expanded upon by vocalizing that staff views the students as their own family members and want the same medical care for the people of Uganda that would be expected for their own children in the US.
Omeed encourages individuals to donate time and money. Having seen the internal workings of GEC from an outside perspective, he guarantees that funds go directly to the people and appropriately used. For individuals that donate time, he is personally proud of the relationships he has built and the people he has helped. Ultimately, Omeed hopes that GEC changes the way emergency medicine is viewed and provided in Uganda, and that the model used can one day be expanded to other countries.