In the words of volunteer Dave Fortun
It begins in chaos and ends in tears of joy for a job well done.
That is how a Surgicorps medical mission goes.
Sunday, screening day in Antigua, Guatemala, August, 2010.
51 Surgicorps volunteers screen, photograph, and register approximately 100 of the 150 surgical candidates for a week of surgeries. Language barriers, children coloring in busy walkways, crying babies and paperwork demands equal controlled mayhem.
But it all works out, and at the end of the day, 25 Guatemalans per day have been slotted for general, gynecological, hand, or plastic surgery.
Monday morning offers more of the same challenges, as the first patients (not necessarily the patients scheduled first!) are anesthetized, the next patients are prepped, and all 51 volunteers settle into their tasks, their routines, their roles.
And so it goes, Tuesday through Friday, and when it is all done, when 100+ patients from near and far have been sent upstairs or home, and the volunteers have packed, thanked and said goodbye to their hosts for the week, it is time to shed tears of joy for another job well done, for another successful mission.
As has been the case with the past 5 trips to Guatemala, the team was hosted by Obras Sociales Del Santo Hermano Pedro. Seven surgeons performed over 100 surgeries and the non-medical volunteers, besides supporting the medical personnel in the hospital, also made daily visits to the hospital orphanage to feed and play with the young children there.
The 100+ surgeries were performed by 7 specialists: Dr. Victor Nieto and Dr. Marguerite Bonaventura (General); Dr. David Kim (Hand); Dr. Joanne Oleck (Gyne); and Drs. Jack Demos, Mel Spira, and Anna Wooten (Plastics).
Surgicorps will return next August 13-20 as it continues its ongoing commitment to the staff and patients of Obras and the citizens of Guatemala. If you would like to join Surgicorps on any of the medical missions, please complete a volunteer application. Please support the Surgicorps mission to provide surgical care to those in need in developing countries by making a donation today on the donation page. Surgicorps needs your support.