Uganda 2016 – A day in the OR
The Pre-op/PACU is the busiest location at St. Mary’s Lacor. Jeni Arganbright, Lauren Cooper and Anne LeRoy are mission veterans. Izzy Allegrezza, Hannah Ross, and Chantal Sperry are the rookies on this team, but everyone contributes equally here. They are a finely tuned machine. There is little time for anything but patient care once the day gets underway. IVs are started, patients are monitored and comfort is given to everyone who receives their gentle touch. A little fun is had when the bouncy balls and bubbles come out, but they are all business when it time for work.
Medical Missions staffs 4 ORs at St. Mary’s Lacor. Dr. Jill Arganbright and Dr. Brandon Johnson are our ENT surgeons. Marlene Carnahan provides anesthesia, Tarik Hughes is the surgical technologist and Margie Ross is the nurse assigned to the ENT suite. They will handle lots of thyroid cases this week.
Dr. Jeff Dillow is a plastic surgeon who handles many burn scar releases and skin grafts. Burns are a common problem here in Uganda since cooking is done over open fires. Children and adults are accidentally burned every day. Jeff is assisted by his nurse, Terri Kass. He and Terri work together back home as well. Jeremy Olson provides anesthesia and G. Jones, a surgical technologist, rounds out Dr. Dillow’s team.
OR #3 is staffed by Dr. Tammy Neblock-Beirne and Dr. Marissa Mendez. They are general surgeons who will handle mastectomies, hernias and other general surgery. Tammy is the Medical Director for the Uganda mission and has been involved with this team since the beginning. Dr. Joel Pavelonis, an anesthesiologist from Phoenix, provides the anesthesia care for this suite. Clare Bond provides nursing care and Billy Young, a surgical technologist, complete this team.
Dr. Brandon Pomeroy is a urologist who will be performing lots of different procedures that will improve the quality of life for the many patients he will help. Dr. Radha Sukhani provides anesthesia care for Dr. Pomeroy. Heather Shafer, another Uganda mission veteran and Kari Smith provide nursing care for his patients.
Before patients are brought to Pre-op, they are assessed and triaged. If a patient is determined to be a candidate for surgery, then Sophie O’Neal and her staff determine where they will fit into a complicated schedule. Alex Small, a Cerner associate and Nyana Sabharwall, an educational administrator from India, work closely with Sophie to ensure that every patient is scheduled appropriately.
Our ward is staffed by Candace Lindley, a nurse practitioner and Kay Johnson, a nurse. They provide patient care and support once the patients leave the PACU and are admitted to the hospital. Kay works the night shift as she has done for many years. We are also pleased to have Dr. Pratibha Khare, an anesthesiologist from Chicago. She provides additional care and support to all of our surgical teams.
The PACU does not have a closing time. The staff leaves when the last patient heads to the hospital ward. Our teams are passionate about the care they give. Most nights, they are returning to the hotel late in the evening. Medical Missions Foundation volunteers are dedicated to the mission and to the patients we serve. Tonight, they will eat their dinner in the PACU.