In the developed world, newborns who need immediate intensive medical care are admitted to a special unit of the hospital: the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). At the St. Louis Children’s Hospital in the United States, for example, highly skilled medical professionals trained in advanced techniques to provide specialized care for infants run the NICU. There is technology to monitor nearly every system of the baby’s body. The constant hum of machines that permeates every inch of the NICU is a reminder of the incredible medical advancements that keep the tiniest of human beings alive in their most vulnerable state.
In the neighboring country of Mexico, countless regional hospitals are understaffed and under-supplied. Several neonatal incubators that were donated from a foreign aid group have yet to be used. The constant hum of flies that buzz through the hospital is a reminder of the need for medical advancements that can help save the lives of the hospital’s many patients.
As of 2015, Mexico continues to be classified as a developing country. However, Mexico is the most advanced of all of the developing countries in the world. Mexico City has an impressive number of tier one hospitals with top-notch medical advancement. Unfortunately, this access to medical technology is reserved for those who can pay for private hospital care, thus excluding many of the nation’s most needy patients.
Washington University in St. Louis Student Fellow Isabel Izek’s project examines access to the available medical technology in America’s largest city, Mexico City—sharing stories from physicians, engineers, community health workers, and victims of poor healthcare.