Ethan worked alongside a team of international doctors setting up mobile clinics for remote indigenous communities that otherwise have extremely limited access to healthcare. Together they traveled by truck, boat, horseback, or on foot. While on clinic he gathered vitals, dosed medicine, documented patients’ histories to present cases to physicians, first assisted in emergency hernia surgeries, and was even able to present at the weekly case rounds on Perthe’s Disease, a very rare condition that affects ages 3-11 causing osteonecrosis of the developing femoral head. This was a game changer experience, and visceral assurance for Ethan, that he too, was on the right track. After a few weeks in, however, Ethan began to notice an issue, and decided to investigate.
‘I grew deeply concerned with the availability of clean drinking water within the rural communities I visited. Albedazole, taken to eradicate intestinal worms, was by far the most common medicine administered. Both adults and children consistently presented with symptoms of parasitic infection, a strong indicator that the local drinking water was contaminated,’ explained Ethan. Within such tropical climates, diarrhea brought on by worms or parasites can put one at extreme risk of dehydration, and even death. To make matters worse, alternative methods of obtaining water not only presented financial concerns for families, but also additional health risks. ‘Upon investigation I found the community stores sold bottled water for a dollar, while soda was only fifty cents. In an attempt to hydrate oneself, save money, and circumvent the issues of contamination, villagers would opt to drink soda. This compounded the crisis with the addition of widespread cavities and dental decay. There is no reason why a seven-year-old child should need to have her entire set of teeth pulled due to decay.’