Volunter Reflections from Guatemala

Our thanks to team members, Thad Ellis and Dave Fortun, for sharing their experiences.

In the Words of Dave Fortun, Surgicorps Volunteer

Sunday, they arrive.

 They come with cleft lips and palates. They come with burn scars. They come with extra toes and fingers. 

They come with hernias, gallstones, and prolapsed bladders.

They come seeking help.

 Friday, the last leave.

 They leave with closed lips and palates, revised scars, the normal number of toes and fingers.

They leave without their hernias, their gallbladders, and sometimes, without uteri.

But they leave repaired.

 93 arrivals seeking help and all left repaired in Antigua, Guatemala, from August 15-21; the patients of the most recent Surgicorps mission.

Boston hand surgeon Dr. David Kim was the medical director of the mission, and was assisted by 2 plastic surgeons, 2 general surgeons, and 2 ob/gyn surgeons. 

They, in turn, were supported by an anesthesia staff led by Dr. Karen Boretsky.

Linda Esposto, executive director of Surgicorps International, oversaw the mission and managed the logistics of the trip.

In addition to the surgeries, non-medical Surgicorps volunteers fed, nourished, and entertained orphans daily in the nursery sponsored by the hospital.

 Antigua is an annual destination for Surgicorps, and the 2012 dates are already set.

 Sunday, August 13, 2012, more arrivals.

In the Words of Thad Ellis, Surgicorps Volunteer

 My Mother first went on a Surgicorps mission to Vietnam in October 2010, followed by a second in April 2011 to Bhutan. She seemed to have had some of the greatest experiences of her life. When she asked me if I wanted to join her on the upcoming trip to Guatemala, I thought what an amazing experience it would be to help so many people.

 Although I had no previous medical experience, there was no shortage of work I could do to help those who had come to Surgicorps asking for a healthy life. From participating in the screening of patients to observing surgeries in the operating room, to just playing with the children upstairs in the orphanage, there was nothing more rewarding than simply being in contact with those who had come for our help.

 No matter how busy and tiring the trip to Guatemala was, it was an experience I will never forget. I welcome any chance to take another extraordinary trip with Surgicorps…and my Mother.

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