To those of you who have been keeping up with reading my blog; I apologize for how late its been since I last updated, but I have been so busy I couldn’t find time to write! This week included some very interesting aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as a ton of extra-curriculars to keep us busy in the evening.
This week’s hospital rotations were all about TCM. We visited the TCM pharmacy and outpatient clinics at our hospital, and traveled to a specialized TCM hospital in another part of the city to see acupuncture practiced at the renowned institute. A TCM pharmacy works just like any other: prescriptions are faxed in from upstairs and the medications are selected and set aside for the patient. Prescriptions in this department average over 10 per patient, because there is a theory of synergy in utilizing multiple specific herbs to treat the many symptoms associated with a disease state. The TCM products in the hospital inventory are ordered in bulk from a supplier that is subject to government oversight. The product supplied must contain what its label indicates, or the facility may be shut down. The products in this pharmacy are usually dry, whole ingredients which the patient will boil in a medicine pot at home. There is another aspect to TCM pharmacy in that highly controlled outside facilities will compound, or brew, the TCM product and then seal the liquid in unit-dose plastic bags. This is often used in the inpatient setting, but is occasionally done outpatient at the patient’s request. At the TCM hospital, we were introduced to electro-acupuncture, which UZ tried for back pain related to an uncomfortable mattress. I tried cupping at the TCM department of our hospital as well.
After work, we found something to do almost every night. Tuesday was my birthday, so we had cake at work from Jing’An Bakery (which I will miss dearly) and then went to the Shanghai Museum of History. We saw many artifacts dating back as long as 6000 BC. After the museum, UZ took me to a nearby restaurant where we ate some very delicious, spicy food.
We booked a final trip and were taken out for a surprise dinner by our co-workers, who took us to a wonderful restaurant serving Shanghai-style delicacies. I tried many new foods here and loved every bite. After dinner, they took us out to the local bars, where we saw a variety of different venues and atmospheres on all levels of the same building. We spent most of our time in a Spanish bar drinking Sangria and a pleasantly unfamiliar Spanish beer. We had a great time getting to know our co-workers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much longer until we said our goodbyes, but we will try to stay in touch via email and instant messengers. We had forgotten our camera the night of the surprise dinner, so no photos were taken there.
Our final day of rotations was spent with Dr. Zheng, an ACPHS professor and Fudan alumni, who just arrived to visit his alma mater. We went to visit the US FDA, located just outside the Jing’An Si district, to learn the role of the FDA in China and get to know the agents and inspectors working in this facility. The FDA has only a handful of agents to inspect all of the clinical trials for US products in China, so they’re kept very busy travelling all over the country. After the trip to the FDA office, we took Dr. Zheng to Huashan hospital for a tour, and then went with the other two ACPHS students to tour Zhongshan hospital. Our final day was followed by a final dinner meeting with all the preceptors, advisors, and students present, including Dr. Zheng and the students traveling to ACPHS next week. UZ and I sat with Zheng Jiao and talked about all of the experiences we’ve had all these weeks in China. Overall, it was a great learning experience and I am glad to have had the opportunity to travel so far and work with such great pharmacists.