Day 2 – A Busy Day at the Hospital
Our first full day at Hospital Obras Sociales was a busy one, across all phases of the mission to San Lucas Toliman.
The highlight for the surgical team was a multi-faceted surgery performed on a two-year-old boy, reversing an ostomy performed a few days after birth due to intestinal inflamation. As Dr. John Alley described it, “We opened his belly, reversed his small bowel ostomy, repaired an abdominal wall hernia and removed his appendix.” Easy for him to say.
The net result: this young boy can now lead a normal life, discarding his ostomy bag to use the bathroom like anyone else.
The rest of the day was filled with less complicated surgeries, but surgeries that would be life changing nonetheless. Gall bladder removals and hernia repairs were typical, performed on patients ranging in age from 2 to a remarkably fit 81 year-old.
The mutual respect of the MedMissions team and local staff is very apparent. All phases of registration, medical consult, surgical prep, surgery and recovery are performed by joint teams of nurses, doctors, medical technicians and other volunteers. While the U.S. team may bring new techniques to share, the diagnostic skills and patient relationships of the local doctors and nurses are invaluable.
While this mission is focused primarily on surgery, the team also is providing cardiology screening. A veteran of numerous medical missions to San Lucas and elsewhere, cardiologist Charlie Porter spent the day with his translator Abraham counseling patients referred by Hospital Obras Social’s medical director, Dr. Rafael Tun.
The mission is just beginning and the pace will continue to accelerate — both inside and outside the operating room. It is going to be a productive week.
Question to Dr. Ashley Bennett: “Which is more difficult, performing a cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) or adjusting the water temperature in the Hotel Toliman showers?”
Answer: “Adjusting the water temperature. Definitely.”