Today flew by so fast we only now at midnight have a chance to blog! Whew! Let’s see here’s how our day went. Today we readied our unit met 2 patients in their homes and had the opportunity for our news reporter from Fox News, Katie Kormann to film on location at the hospital as well as in patient’s homes.
Morning: headed to the hospital to begin setting up and sterilizing our surgical instruments. We learned our sterilization machine (autoclave) is being held in customs and will not be released in time so we made due with a slower system of sterilizing one tray instead of two trays at a time. We toured areas for improvement in the hospital and have a couple mission participants planning repairs such as surgical sinks, window screens and restroom areas ( door locks, missing toilet seats). We also toured the orthopedic wing which is need of updating and repairs. We would like to raise funds to improve the casting area.
Afternoon: we headed in our van for over an hour to a remote village, to visit a young man 20 years old with celerbral palsy, Omar. Dr. Enrico Stazzone examined him in his home to determine a need for surgery to help him to walk. Omar’s had mom received a wheel chair from us so she didn’t have to carry him. Omar’s mom also has 3 other children and is going to school. Next we stopped by Lisbeth’s home to meet her and her grandmother. She will have scoliosis surgery done for free by us this week. She’s 11 and her father passed away and her mother is mentally incapable to care for her. Katie our reporter and producer along with Dr. Madelyn Stazzone (for Spanish translation) completed an interview about what the surgery from us means to them. Tearfully, Lisbeth’s grandmother said her father had a wish that before he died she would “be normal”. She is very thankful to not only Dr. Miguel Luna the Dominican orthopedic surgeon who she described as ” an angel” but to our group. In the DR scoliolis is more common and is more common in girls than boys. There is not s system of school nurses to assess for scoliosis in school, so children go undiagnosed until later of having scoliosis. In girls the social implications for having a crooked back mean they are not entered in the marriage pool.
Evening: return to the hospital to complete our preparation, and transform the waiting area for our patients. We hired a muralist and got to see how wonderful it looked with the walls we had painted and with the purchased couches we installed for family’s to sleep on. We also donated money to assist with transportation by taxi back home after discharge so the children wouldn’t have to ride a bumpy bus after surgery as it is painful after back surgery.
We gathered for a late dinner then headed to our hotel to sleep. It was a productive day.