Collaborating with Floating Doctors: A Short Documentary


Sermo.  The word is Latin for conversation.  It’s been our mantra since day one. A private physicians community, Sermo members speak candidly on the issues of the day, support each other, and help each other on tough cases and practice dilemmas.  This is where doctors share unfiltered wisdom and learn what isn’t taught in medical school.

With over 68 specialties represented, Sermo is where medical heroes mix among their peers: the ER doc who saves lives every day; the oncologists who comfort the frightened patients and families through a terrifying process.  One Sermo colleague, Dr. Benjamin LaBrot, leads a mostly volunteer crew of MDs, nurses, diagnostic technicians, medical and nursing students in his non-profit operation Floating Doctors. They provide free acute and preventive health care services and deliver donated medical supplies to isolated areas in Haiti, Honduras and Panama.

Dr. LaBrot sees his organization at a tipping point. Always stretched for resources and running lean, he relies heavily on mobile technology that travels well through jungles, over muddy terrain and in kayukes – native-made canoes powered by outboard motors that zoom around the Western Caribbean, wobbling uneasily when still but slicing through the roughest surf when properly balanced and at full throttle.  Along with their mobile ultrasound and backpack pharmacy, they always go out on mission with Sermo’s mobile medical crowdsourcing resource, iConsult – their window into 200,000 physicians.

By the time we caught up with the always busy Dr. LaBrot, we knew we’d found a kindred spirit in our mission to connect doctors worldwide, to prove that crowdsourced medicine mobile technology go beyond slashing the cost of healthcare; together, as with all our physicians and their cast of supporters, we can close the distance between doctors and their patients that has developed through industry trends and forces like defensive medicine, technological barriers and burdensome regulation.

A month ago, we joined Dr. LaBrot and his crew for a few days at a mobile clinic in Panama to see Floating Doctors in action with iConsult.  We’re now proud to present the first milestone of our work together – a short documentary that brings home not only the meaning of our mission but how it works in even the most remote parts of the globe.

One physician in the film said, “I’m 100% for it!”  There’s not much more emphatic a position to take when physicians can help each other.  We are in the beginnings of the globally interconnected healthcare community.  If you enjoy what you see, please, share it with your friends and family.  And for our colleagues who have not yet joined Sermo, what are you waiting for?  Join the conversation….


  1. Jerry Casey says

    This is an amazing idea to bring modern Health Care to a population once abanboned. The very thought I of integration of world wide knowledge in this setting should be intergrated in the US system for more accurate and timely diagnosis.

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