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Elective Competition Winner 2017

By Conor McCloskey

Elective Competition Winner 2017


After our first week of dentistry, we were excited to fly to Siem Reap for the weekend and visit the beautiful Angkor Wat temple. We visited the temple early in the morning and spent 4-5 hours looking around the various different temples on the site.

We were treated to sights of monkeys and elephants as we made our way around the complex by Tuk Tuk. It was nice to have this relaxing weekend right before we started our second week of dentistry.

After flying back to Phnom Penh on the Sunday, we were informed that we would be treating patients in a prison, approximately 2 hours from the capital city. Quite honestly, I was feeling slightly nervous about working in a prison but after being told that you could be sentenced to 5 years for stealing a chicken, I didn't feel quite as anxious.

Once again we made our way by bus to the province and arrived at our guesthouse where we would be staying for the week. We unpacked, had a quick bite to eat and made our way to the prison. By this stage, I knew what to expect.

From the dental equipment to the heat and humidity, I felt much more prepared this week. We set our chairs and equipment up in an outdoor area of the prison that was normally used for religious services and got ready for patients.

Quite a large number of prisoners began to gather nearby and soon, many were being given a quick assessment by the Cambodian dentist. The pace of the treatment was unrelenting and again, the main treatment was extractions.

Many of the teeth were only partially erupted and others were very badly broken down. The difficulty of the extractions from the week before definitely made me feel a lot more confident this time however there were still times when we relied on the Cambodian dental team who were much more experienced at taking out teeth.

All of the prisoners were very appreciative of what we were doing as this was the first time a dental service had ever visited this prison. Usually each appointment ended with a small bow towards us and a thank you.

By mid week, we were already one fan down and we were all still trying to get use to to the heat. One colleague of mine was sweating a tad more than the rest of us and their scrubs were a different shade of blue at the end of the day (if you're reading this blog, sorry!).

A mini fan that I had bought on Amazon before I left was particularly useful when I had a small break and could have a cold drink of water in between patients .

With only two days to go, the end was in sight and although we were enjoying this unique dental experience, we were excited for another adventure to begin at the end of the week!

Watch out for more updates from Conor on his elective adventures!

Are you going on an elective?  Head off on your travels safe in the knowledge that we've got you covered for problems such as cancellations for exam re-sit cancellations, HIV needle-stick injuries or unforeseen medical expenses with elective insurance from Wesleyan.

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