Father-Daughter Guatemala Team Members by Sangeetha Ramakrishna
Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
As a child, I often fantasized about what I would be when I grew up: a famous actress, a
percussion player with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the President of the United States. I had some
pretty lofty dreams until I decided on my true calling: I wanted to be a general surgeon like my
dad, Dr. Ramakrishna and play percussion for the Pittsburgh Symphony in my free time.
While I never made it to medical school (or played with the Symphony), I often wondered what
it would be like to work with my dad. Surgicorps International gave me the opportunity to find out.
I first joined the Surgicorps team on their trip to Guatemala in 2011. I worked alongside my dad
and several other doctors as a non-medical volunteer. I wasn’t convinced that I could be a useful
member of the team, but I quickly learned that every members’ talents could be put to use in
some way. I helped with paperwork, acted as a runner for my dad’s operating room, and
comforted young children in the recovery room. In the years that followed, I eagerly awaited
these trips. They provided me with a chance to give back to communities in need and
a chance to connect with my dad in a meaningful way.
I have always known that my dad’s profession makes him an important figure in his patients’
lives, but the Surgicorps trips provide a wonderful lens into my dad’s impact on others. During
the trips, I watch him screen patients, indicating his concern for their health, and gaining their
trust. I follow him as he makes rounds each morning to ensure that patients are healing and
feeling better. I see him comfort mothers who are taking care of their young children, and how
he makes every member of his operating room team feel comfortable. Even the medical staff at
the clinic is at ease with him despite a language barrier.
The Guatemalan people have made quite an impression on my dad, and it’s easy to see that he
has done the same to them. This summer, I will return to Guatemala on my fourth trip with Surgicorps.
Being a part of this medical mission has been life changing. I will work with a team that I now consider a close
group of friends, and once again, I have the opportunity to work alongside my dad.
My dad has made a career out of helping others. Surgicorps lets me see this important work in
action and it finally allows me to help him give back to his deserving patients. For that, I am
Please consider supporting the team’s efforts through a contribution to our Crowdrise campaign!