23 results for author: Mark Shields


Uganda 2018 – Making a Difference, One Garbage Bag At a Time

They roam the hospital and you see them everywhere you go. Older men clutching their small black garbage bags. If you wear a Medical Missions lanyard, they ask if you can help with their problem. The common malady they all share is an enlarged prostate which prevents them from being able to urinate properly. The bag inside the garbage bag contains urine and the men walk around with catheters all day long. They all beg not to have to carry their garbage bag any longer.   Dr. Brandon Pomeroy is here to do something for these men. His case load this week is full of TURPs: trans-urethral resection of the prostate. It takes about 1 hour, but ...

Uganda 2018 – An Insider’s Look

This week in Uganda is very powerful and meaningful to those who join us for the mission. More than half of our team are veterans of this mission. It speaks volumes to their dedication and the work that is done here in Uganda. For most people on the team, the mission becomes something they plan the rest of their year around.   To the casual observer, it is chaotic. In my eyes, it is something I liken to a choreographed show. Everyone on the team has a role to play, but you have to be flexible and willing to play other roles as well. Everyone is ready to step up and do what it takes to make the mission a success; if we help one person, ...

Uganda 2018 – Those We Serve

The country of Uganda is situated in the central southeast portion of Africa. It is partially bordered by Lake Victoria in the south and the South Sudan to the north. Uganda is known as the “Pearl of Africa” for its beauty. There are lush green fields, jungles, swamps and palm trees. And yes, there are palm trees everywhere.   Most Ugandans live in huts constructed of bricks with thatch roofs, constructed completely by the people who live in them. They make bricks by hand and dry them over outdoor kilns. The thatch is cut, dried, sorted and stacked. Once all the supplies are gathered, it takes about a week to construct the hut. These ...

Uganda 2018 – From Morning to Night

Our advance team arrived Friday, met with our colleagues from St. Mary’s Lacor Hospital and discussed our goals for this year’s mission. This year, education is one of our core mission components. Our ultimate goal is to help the people we serve become self-sufficient. We are educating the nursing students and anyone else who wants to learn. We will be teaching CPR and advanced lifesaving skills. We brought CPR practice dummies, AEDs and our passion to care for the fellowship of humankind.   We have 4 surgeons and a resident this year. Dr. Brandon Pomeroy is our urologist. His week will be spent performing TURPs (you will want to google ...

Uganda 2018 – Meeting the Team

Every person treated by our team makes a stop at our scheduling desk. This year, scheduling responsibilities are handled by Bobbi Zink and Erica Smith. They track the progress of the people we treat throughout the entire process. Patients arrive early in the morning and go-in-out all day. Bobbi and Erica know where everyone is at any time.   Our PACU team is staffed by Lou Brady, Ally Spier, Sarah Heldstab, Livi Pennington, Meredith Jackson and Katherine King. This sub-team take vitals, start IVs and entertain patients while they wait for surgery. Toys and games keep both young and old occupied. Bubbles often make an appearance when ...

Uganda 2018 – The Time is Now

After 7 months of planning, the time is now. There were emails, phone calls, late nights and early mornings. The team is assembled and we are on our way to Gulu, Uganda.   The travel time is around 31 hours and can be exhausting, but spirits are still high when we arrive at the Kampala airport. We clear customs and travel by bus to our hotel. The city of Kampala has a vibe all its own. There is a lot of traffic and the motorcycles weave between buses and cars with inches to spare. Traffic laws are more like guidelines here. There are markets alive with activity even in the early morning. The street vendors are still cooking chapati -- the ...

Uganda 2016 – Together, we are Team Uganda!!

Our days begin early. Breakfast at 6:00 and the buses leave to our 3 locations at 6:45. Each bus is packed with staff and equipment. The pharmacy team heads to the clinic where they will spend the day in a room about the size of a closet. Rebecca Roush and Lisa Buchholz are our "dueling pharmacists". They stand shoulder to shoulder and dispense the necessary medications to our clinic patients. Lots of antibiotics, tylenol, and anti-malaria meds are passed out.   Jason Jonas and Lyn Shaw are running our clinic this year. Lyn is a mission veteran and has run clinics in locations around the world for Medical Missions Foundation. Jason has ...

Uganda 2016 – Perspectives from Day 4

There is a saying in the Talmud: "He who saves one life saves the whole world."   I have been writing all week about our missions and trying to paint a portrait of what I see during the course of my day. I tell you all about the people who make this mission run smoothly. The real story is about what is feel while I watch.   We went to Gulu Regional Hospital this morning to drop off supplies. Dr. Mark Hechler, one of our plastic surgeons was preparing to help a burn patient with a scar reduction. He started his own IV (something he would not typically do in his practice back home in Missouri) and helped the patient get onto the ...

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 ...

Uganda 2016 – Our first day in the clinic

Medical missions all share one thing in common... waiting! We wait for our flight, we wait for our ride, we wait for our hotel rooms.... We wait! Patience is another thing we all share. I am not a patient person by nature and medical missions slow my clock. A medical mission puts your life back into perspective. The pace of everyday life is so fast. We rush from home to work to activities on a constant basis. Everyday, we wake up and rush to face whatever the day has in store for us.   The waiting we face does not compare to the waiting of those we serve in the Gulu region of Uganda. Our clinical staff will consult with nearly 200 ...