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Antigua 2018 – Patience & Patients

Our team members working in the recovery room have been helping patients wake up on the right side of the hospital bed this week as they trickle in after surgery.


The volunteers in the recovery room, or Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, make sure each patient is as comfortable as they possibly can be after their operations. “We help people wake up, and we help control their pain,” said Dr. Steve.


Since surgeries have started, our PACU team has been checking patients’ blood pressure as they wake up, making sure patients can wiggle their fingers and toes as anesthesia wears off, keeping an eye on kids who had tonsillectomies for excessive bleeding, checking for clear urine from older gentlemen who had prostate surgery, etc. “We want to make sure the patients are aware of their pain, but not oblivious to their pain,” said Bryan, a respiratory therapist.

Kerry, RN, and Melisa, RN, working in the PACU.


This year’s team has six volunteers to assist all of the patients. Typically, the group sees about a hundred people in total, according to Dr. Steve who is here for his 14th trip.


In the U.S., Dr. Steve works in the Intensive Care Unit, and Bryan works in Neonatal Intensive Care. Usually, anesthesiologists would be working in the PACU, but both Dr. Steve and Bryan said the skills they’ve learned from working in intensive care translate well to working in the recovery room. “It’s supposed to be an intensive care level, so it’s a natural place for us,” said Dr. Steve. Plus, the entire group can get more surgeries done throughout the week if there are separate volunteers for the PACU and anesthesiology.


“We have a great cast of nurses and respiratory therapists,” said Dr. Steve. “My job is easy because they know what to do, and they do it well. They do all the hard work.”


Photos by Matthew Bene. 

Bryan and Sarah giving oxygen to a patient in the PACU.

Dr. Steve speaks with the nursing staff.