We finished clinics yesterday. The total of patients seen this week was 1,971! That's an incredible feat to applaud! Congratulations to all the volunteers!
Today it was a 4-hour bus ride back to Antigua. Now is a good time to tell you about the team. However, there’s a disclaimer on my part. The Wi-Fi data coverage during the week in the remote villages has not been a friend to me ~ so apologies for delayed postings of blogs and photos. I’ll be adding more photos from this trip.
Please be aware the work setting our doctors experienced was difficult and not sterile. They worked in a hot and humid rudimentary environment as endless flies surrounded them and their patients.
I was blessed to meet and spend time with all our team members and help out with translations when needed. The first day I spent several hours helping triage the patients determining, based on their medical complaints, which doctors would need to attend to them. Another day, I spent the morning translating for one of our General Medicine doctors and I witnessed first-hand the kindness and care and patience he demonstrated to each of the patients seen. In going from unit to unit, I observed the loving care and fortitude the physical therapists showed their patients as they were fitted into their ambulatory devices. The diligent doctor Dilma Ruiz would first evaluate the ambulatory patients and then the patients would go to the physical therapists. The therapists spent an extraordinary amount of time making sure their patients understood how to use their devices properly, whether they were wheelchairs, walkers, canes or crutches. The therapists are: Michelle Cramp, Lorena Ortiz, and Kristel Najera, aided by their most uplifting administrator Lulu. The wheelchair engineers responsible for the assembly are: Beth Morrow, Larry Shamp, Bruce Fuller, George Stancel and Guatemalan FIP staff Byron.
The Laboratory technician, Katherine Allison, worked tirelessly to get the lab results to the doctors. She was responsible for testing: hemoglobin, urine analysis, pregnancy, blood sugar and EKG. I must add, Katherine always had a smile on her face!
Houston doctors Bob Morrow and Phil Johnson teamed up with Guatemalan doctors Otoniel Recinos and Rolando Camey to smoothly run the General Medicine unit. Marcia Fashingbauer served diligently as Dr. Morrow’s translator.
In pediatrics, Physician’s Assistant, Susan Williams was a true blessing to the team as she, with her translator Mary Stancel by her side, evaluated an endless number of children and then she went on to assist the other doctors by tending to adult patients. Also in pediatrics was Dr. Silvia Recinos who treated the children with an incredible amount of compassion and tenderness.
All units were busy, however, in particular the obstetrics and gynecological doctors were swamped. The extremely assiduous Dr. Merrill Lewen was assisted by medical student Natalia Polukoff who also served as her translator. The very attentive Dr. Mary Berg with her translator and aide Marcela Lopez, RN also worked the OB/GYN unit. The gynecology cryotherapy unit included a team from Guatemala: Flory Esquivel, Lesli Rivas and Ana Garcia.
Our doctors had to refer many patients for further evaluation for possible surgery. The referral unit was optimally organized by local FIP staff members, Jessica Stevens and Danilo.
On day 3 and 4 of clinics, dentists Dr. Kellie Moore and local Dr. Hugo Lima were assisted by local Dr. Marcia Guevera. This team of doctors worked continuously to pull decayed teeth from the mouths of adults and children. The talented Dr. Moore taught the other two doctors nerve blocking techniques.
This medical mission team would not have been possible without the outstanding leadership of Linda Johnson, supported by the Guatemalan based FIP staff, medical program coordinator Felipe Gutierrez and assistant coordinator Tagni Li Moncada.
FIP volunteers were well fed by the kitchen local team: Hector Ortiz and Oliver Santos. Thanks go to our bus drivers for getting us to our locations unscathed: Aparicio Lopez and Cesar Salazar. Also thank you to the local volunteer teens who served as "red hats" assisting the doctors and Triage throughout each day