Our Boats

While in the past we based our entire operation from a sailing vessel; at present, our model is to deploy our teams in small open boats called ‘pangas’ or in traditional Ngabe-Bugle indigenous dugout canoes called ‘cayucos’ to reach the target communities scattered across 10,000+ miles of archipelago and coastal mountains we serve. These smaller […]

How It All Began

“Always strive for the far shore. Don’t save anything for the swim back.” by Dr. Ben One of the most common questions I am asked (aside from “where are we?” and “can you come look at this weird rash?”) is how this all started. I’m never quite sure how to answer that—the true origin of […]

Why Do They Matter?

By Gloria Obialisi, USC Medical Student I don’t know how to swim. Well, if I had to freestyle across a pool, I can maybe do it for 25-50m, but honestly, I’m not even sure if I can do that anymore. I’ve taken three swimming classes and have never been able to let go of the […]

Health Care is sent abroad…but what comes back: Compassion

By Katherine LeTendresse, Student at Global Medicine Program, USC  Floating Doctors Volunteer From the first hours encountering the health professionals who volunteer with or work full time at Floating Doctors, I had the feeling that the week ahead of me would be filled with interesting cases to learn from. What I realize now is that […]

“Yes, we can take that tooth out for you.”

By Dr. Kevin Lan Lead Dental Provider Floating Doctors   A new year upon us, and what a year 2015 was for the Floating Doctors. I would like to update everyone with the progress our dental program has made and share a few stories of the past year. Our work and development would not have been […]

A Long Way from Help

Rio Caña is about 70 miles by boat from the nearest small community hospital, and VERY hard to get to–it requires a lot of planning and the willingness to endure pretty bad weather and rough seas to get there. It is about 6 hours in a huge dugout canoe, at the end of which there is a treacherous river entrance blocked by a sandbar with big surf. I know longboard surfing is widely popular, but until you have surfed a 50′ hollowed out log down the face of turbulent waves to enter the Rio Caña, you have not truly longboarded.

Floating Doctors Goes Dental!

In the early months of 2015, Floating Doctors added another paddle to its ever-expanding Cayuco (wooden canoe) by launching its dental programme in tandem with the flourishing mobile medical clinics. It has always been the dream of Ben LaBrot, the founder of Floating Doctors, to have a long-term dentist join the crew. The need for […]

For Want of a Nail…

Coming home from the jungle and the mangroves at the end of the year is a lot like coming back to the dock after a long voyage. We see our family and friends (and a hot shower is available everywhere…what luxury), and it is time to take stock of the trip and look ahead to […]

Lessons Learned in Caring

It is difficult to explain the transformation that happens while you volunteer with the Floating Doctors. For the group of us nine medical students there were six months of planning, coordinating, and fundraising topped off with much anticipation and excitement. Our goal was to teach local providers working with the Floating Doctors how to screen […]

The Beat of a Heart

In biological terms, the heart is a muscle, a pump moving the vital materials of our blood throughout the body. It beats about 3 billion times during the average lifetime. The heart, with its constant function and immense bodily responsibility, allows us to live.  The heart is also described in psychological terms, a broken heart, […]