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Tag: Guatemala

Guatemala, August 2010

Child with DollMother and Child

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.

Guatemala 2009


A cleft palate is a cleft palate.

But the patients are always different.

They come from different towns with different stories and different faces. And that is why each trip to the same city, Antigua, is different – but just as rewarding as the last.

On August 15, 2009, a Surgicorps team of 47 volunteers (25 on their first mission) from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Florida, Colorado, Utah, Boston, Connecticut and California met in Guatemala for a week-long mission of surgeries and related medical care. Same hospital, same host staff – different patients, different lives to be impacted.

Seven days and 86 surgeries later, the team returned to the United States, and Surgicorps International added 86 names to the list of thousands whose lives have been improved in Central and South America, Africa, and Asia over the past 15 years.

Doctors, nurses, medical students, non-medical volunteers, all working daily in some large or small role to achieve the same goal: an improved life for someone in need. All working daily to feel what one volunteer, 16-year old Aarthi Ramesh, felt after working with her mother, an anesthesiologist, and her father, a general surgeon: “This might have been the best day of my life.”

© Surgicorps International

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