19th century pubs are one thing.....

5 Oct 2017

Andrew Charlton, DTMH September 2017

1 month in and as predicted time is flying by! After a relatively gentle first few weeks, the work is being to pile up. With HIV week last week, at times it feels like we’re drowning in a flood of global health-related acronyms (was it TDF or 3TC and EFV that the WHO recommends for ART? And second line was that AZT or ABC or NVP and shouldn’t we check first to see if he has MDR-TB?). To keep my head above water, I made an overdue visit to one of Liverpool’s most important medical landmarks. Dr Duncan (Liverpool’s first Medical Officer for Health) might be long gone, but the pub named in his honour is still going strong and continues dispensing marvellous medicine.

19th century pubs are one thing, but 19th century poverty quite another. Staving off the destitution of full time studenthood meant doing a locum shift this weekend at my former workplace, Bradford Royal Infirmary. Amidst the everyday melee of one of the country’s busiest Accident and Emergency Departments, reviewing patients recently returned from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan reminded me that, while tropical medicine might once have been the reserved for the intrepid explorer or the occasional returning sailor, in the modern world of continent-hopping global travel diseases like malaria and schistosomiasis can actually be part of the everyday differential diagnosis.

This week, like many of my fellow students I’ve been plagued by an outbreak of parasite paranoia, phoning my girlfriend (who has just been Backpacking around South-East Asia) to suggest we book in for a battery of his and hers blood, urine and faecal tests. Judging from the crowd of anxious faces questioning the lecturer at the end of Schistosomiasis lecture, we might not be the only ones…