The future of Medical Missions Foundation is here. Literally here in Bhopal, India.
Medical Missions brought two surgical residents on this trip for some specific and strategic reasons.
“This gives surgical residents great experience with the kind of cases we do,” said Dr. Tammy Neblock-Beirne, an experienced general surgeon at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. “It helps you think on your feet and makes you more resourceful as a surgeon.”
For Dr. Naren Khare, a urologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who grew up in Bhopal, it’s deeply personal. “I want them to learn volunteerism. I want them to feel it in their spirit and learn how to give their skills and knowledge to other people,” he said.
Those may seem like high expectations for young doctors who just gradated medical school and are still in training. Both Kendra Black, a resident at Saint Luke’s and Alex Chow from Rush University say they are up to the challenge.
Both residents keep a grueling schedule in India. Both are in working with the surgeons for long hours, performing more surgeries in one day here in India than they would have done in a month back home.
“I’m here to make a small impact on the world,” noted Alex. “And I am sharpening my skills at the same time. From day one you work with what you have and get the job done. And the results are excellent.” Kendra’s feelings are similar. “Unfortunately this population wouldn’t get their surgeries if it wasn’t for this organization and the people who come here every year,” said Kendra. “The surgeries they need are for things people have suffered with for years. They tolerate pain more stoically than in the United States. It’s great to be part of this and great for the patients.”
Beyond the benefits for the resident and for the people they serve, both surgeons say patients back home will benefit from the experience in ways they may never know. “The more experienced the surgeon is, the better the outcome,” said Khare. “As doctors in the United States their experience here will shape their views of the world, help them appreciate different cultures and treat all patients with kindness and more empathy. That makes me so happy.”
Although studies show altruism is the mantra of the millennial generation, and Global Track medicine is popular among medical students, participating on a mission trip is not easy. “It’s difficult to get 10 days off in a row during residency,” said Neblock and it’s expensive. This is the second year Khare has paid for a resident to travel with the mission to India.
For Neblock-Beirne it is worth it. For the patients here, for the people back home and the future of the organization. “People depend on us. And need skilled people to take our places when we can no longer be here.”
The gentle people who receive the gift of health care in India this week are not worried about the future of the foundation. They are just grateful to have the medical team here to care for their families today.