I’m back again with the second half of my study tour with my Medical Practice & Policy core course!! Boy, I hope you guys are ready for the info I have for you today. Visiting the hospitals in Poznań was such an interesting, chaotic, and incredible experience. We were able to visit a Gynecology & Perinatology department as well as a Pediatric Gastroenterology department, which I loved, because I am hoping to go into some form of pediatrics when I am a doctor!
A bonus of this trip was that everything in Poznan was wayy cheaper than Copenhagen and even Berlin.
Today partly consisted of traveling. Our class got up around 6 am and immediately got on a bus that took us to Poznan. I slept the entire way and I’m really glad I did, because the day was pretty jam packed. We split up into two groups, so half of us immediately went to our first academic visit, while the other half went for an early lunch. I was in the first group, so we headed straight to our visit at the Gynecology & Perinatology department at the Poznań University of Medical Sciences.
Going to this hospital was a huge shocker to me as well as most of my class. The difference between this hospital and Germany’s was massive. The hospital seemed like had not been renovated in years, it was dimly lit, and was very chaotic. We had learned beforehand that Poznan’s healthcare system was poorly financed, but seeing this in person was a completely different experience.
Another huge difference between this visit and the other’s we’ve had was their levels of patient privacy. While in Germany, we were allowed to see patients and learned about their conditions, but in Poznan we were allowed to do so much more. Within the first hour of our visit, I was performing an ultrasound on a pregnant woman who was having a C-section in 2-3 hours!! It was an exhilarating experience and it was so nice of the patient to allow us into her space. I know in America this would have never happened, it seemed that the patients in Poznan did not care as much about privacy, or it just isn’t an issue in the country. We also didn’t have to sign any kind of “HIPAA” form like we did in Germany, which was interesting since we did so much more.
After the ultrasound, we were given a tour around the facilities very quickly and then switched over to another doctor. She also brought us into another ultrasound room, where we watched her perform an ultrasound. She showed us how to find the baby’s legs, arms, brain, and eyes. We also got to hear the baby’s heartbeat!
The next part of this visit was the most shocking. The doctor wanted us to observe a C-section (I believe the group visiting the next day was able to!), but we had too many people in our group to watch. BUT the doctor asked if anyone wanted to watch a procedure on a woman who had just given birth and had her perineum sewn back together. It was originally cut open to allow for an easier birth for her child. This is usually done for baby’s with large heads, etc. WOW, was that a sight to see. It was very bloody, but also very intriguing, because it seemed very normal for three of the students in our group to observe this vulnerable woman. We understood that the culture in Poznan is very different than Germany, Denmark, or the US, but we still felt we were intruding on an intimate moment. The father was in the back with their newborn baby, but he didn’t seem to mind.
After the procedure was finished, our visit was over for the day and we headed out to explore the city! We ate in the main square, which seemed to be where all the good restaurants and shops were. We ate at a place called Tequilarnia and it was AMAZING and extremely cheap for what we got. I ordered a meal that included three shrimp tempura tacos with some chips and salsa. I also ordered a frozen margarita and this was all for about $15!! Which is way cheaper than what I would’ve paid for in Copenhagen.
Then we headed back to the hotel to meet with our class to start our self-guided walking tour of Poznan! It was a fun experience, we walked around for about 45 minutes and we all had a different spot in Poznan we had to research beforehand and talk about. I had the Proserpine Fountain, which was in the main square and is a fountain that portrays the Greek myth of the abduction of Proserpine by the ruler of the underworld.
We then headed to dinner, where we had pierogis, chicken, and ice cream with tea/coffee! Very yummy dinner!
Today we had our visit to the Pediatric Gastroenterology department, which was extremely interesting and we learned a lot more about the Polish healthcare system. We saw so many children, because the ward was extremely overcrowded, I even saw one very small room with six children placed in it plus their families. It became even more interesting when we were able to visit the newly renovated Neurology ward, which was so spaced out and each patient got their own room. It’s kind of crazy how both of those types of wards could be in the same hospital. The doctor touring us around said they were going to have to wait until April for the renovation.
The doctor we talked to really cared about his patients. He said that he was actually only a part time doctor, but would normally spend about twelve hours a day there instead of the four he was supposed to. It was also very interesting that he gave his personal number out to patients, so some of them would call him in the middle of the night while he wasn’t at the hospital. I don’t think this would happen very often in America.
He also told us that his ward was a third referral site, meant for very severe patients that couldn’t be treated at normal hospitals. But since there isn’t much space in the ward, wait time could last months to years to get into the hospital. We also were able to observe an endoscopy while on our visit, which was very fascinating!
For lunch that day, a few friends and I searched for the famous open-faced sandwiches Poznan is known for… my, oh my were they delicious!! I had the “wieśniaczek,” which had one with bacon, sausage, mozzerella, corn, and a super good sauce.
After lunch we all headed back to the hotel to work in our small groups on our research question we had been asking about at each of our visits. My group had decided to write about the C-section rates in Poland, which was about 35%, when it should be 15%. The hospital we visited was about 45%, but they deal with the most severe cases. The doctor we were talking to said that the fear of normal births is so high, many Polish women opt for a C-section (the doctor we talked to even had one with the knowledge about the higher risks!). Interestingly, America also has a high C-section rate of about 30%. So this will be interesting to research more about later!
For dinner, we all went to a restaurant and made our own pierogis!! It was such a great way to end our trip. We made plum, pork, and potato pierogis and they were so delicious and fun to make.
Friday was a wrap-up day and travel day back to Copenhagen. We all met to talk abut our experiences during the week and then presented in our groups about our final research question.
Overall, this was such a great week educationally and it also was just super fun in general! It was sad to say goodbye to cheap food and other things, but I really do appreciate studying abroad in Copenhagen for all the many things it offers that places like Poznan and Berlin can’t.
Until next time!