Cardiology, rehabilitation and the ICU
An aspiring doctor with an interest public health and policy, Maxwell Freitas spent his summer at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein (HIAE) in Brazil rotating between various sectors such as cardiology, rehabilitation therapy and the intensive care unit. He observed doctors developing diagnoses and interacting with patients and had the unique opportunity to view surgical procedures. “I watched as doctors performed a heart valve transplant through a catheter and as they performed fully-invasive heart surgery,” Max shares. “I could not believe that I, as an undergrad, was able to have that experience. The techniques that doctors are developing to perform minimally invasive surgery are astounding.” He also rotated through the motion studies laboratory where mechanical engineers were treating patients who have motor impairments with infrared cameras.
Living in Brazil not only increased my scientific knowledge and skills – it also gave me insight into collaborating with other cultures.
Visiting hospitals and affecting change
Max was invited to tour two other hospitals in São Paulo as well. During these visits, Max discovered the complicated reality of Brazil’s public health system: Sistema Único de Saúde. “I was shocked to meet an emphysema patient who traveled far over rough terrain to be treated at the hospital in São Paulo – it’s the only state that offers the free or discounted medication,” he says. “With Brazil’s poverty levels, these drugs simply cannot be attained by those who need them. The doctors were doing everything in their power to help, but Brazilians do not have equal access to the healthcare system.” Back on campus at MIT, Max is motivated to continue his studies and is considering pursuing an MD and a PhD in public policy. “I hope to revolutionize the medical world as well as affect change in the public health sector,” he shares.