I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of the second Samoan mission. As a first time member of a Surgicorps team, I didn’t know what it would be like. While on the final leg of my journey there, the plane full of Samoan travelers had a relaxed, chatty vibe that was an introduction to the personality of the residents.
The patients we saw also were relaxed, brave, grateful and just generally enjoyable. The personnel from Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital were pleasant and helpful, highly professional and welcoming.
My job as an operating room nurse was to either circulate or scrub on cases that would be routine in the U.S., but were a big deal for the Samoans who had tolerated their lesion, or their problem for years, needing surgery.
One teen who had surgical repair of his burn contractures of his hand was so grateful and hopeful that he would soon be able to play his piano and guitar. He was fitted for post-op splints by our occupational therapist. An absolutely vital step for successful treatment for him.
Another child of about 9 years walked in the O.R. with his father, both smiling widely, and so pleased to be having a big surgery. He has a very large black facial birthmark over more than a third of his face and eye. The first stage was to remove the cheek portion and reconstruct with a skin graft.
Other patients had masses removed with beautiful plastic closures, repair of birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, or dermoid cysts, lipomas, and other lesions.
I was honored to be a part of these life-altering services. Working with the dedicated team from Surgicorps was inspiring. Their skills in patient care, combined with gentleness and compassion were quick and efficient. The portion of the team screening and readying patients for surgery was skilled and efficient as well. The work flowed smoothly due to good planning, love, and care.
I feel blessed and honored to have been a part of this group, and thankful to have been invited to join them.