Romania 2016 – Day 4
On our last full day in Botosani, I shadow Laura and Ken Conde to experience the behind the scenes of what makes the mission possible. At the general hospital we meet with the hospital manager, to pass on our regards. Among the gifts is a small World Series Champion Kansas City Royals baseball bat, a gesture of cultural exchange and appreciation. At the hospital we head to a press conference acknowledging the mission’s effort and the relevant government bodies that make this journey happen.
We continue to a day center that provides care and physical rehabilitation to children with autism as well as other disabilities. Ken Conde provides physical checkups to 17 children and distributes toothpaste, toys, toothbrushes and vitamins. The kids are very anxious entering the office. To fend off fear one boy sings his favorite song while my dad takes his pulse and oxygen levels. A young boy with a rare mental condition and his mother visit us next. He has an extra digit on his foot that could not be removed due to anesthesia difficulties here. Ken, an anesthetist, is confident that they can help this 6 year old boy and refers him to the medical mission team at the children’s hospital for next year.
Ken provides dietary and hydration advice to several kids with elevated pulse rates. Worried mothers are relieved when such simple recommendations are offered, originally concerned to hear more grim results. Over the past few days I’ve seen many hopeful mothers looking for cures or medicine for autism. There is a moment of visible sadness and longing when they find out that even in the U.S. there is no medication our team would really recommend for most cases. I have unending respect for these caring mothers making ends meet in already difficult circumstances. It is hard for me to imagine their daily life, but I have nothing but admiration for these women. The staff we worked alongside ask Ken to sign their book of honor in appreciation.
After a quick lunch, I was finally given the green light to visit a facility I had been trying to see since day one: the women’s hospital . This visit was primarily a scouting effort to establish their needs for next year’s mission. Already our team midwife OBGYN, Julie Abbot, has seen two natural births, one hysterectomy, and two C-sections. The MedMissions team has brought a cautery machine to donate to the women’s hospital. They had been making do without one, which shocked our veteran OBGYN nurse clinician, Becky Quesenberry. Becky walks the clinic staff though safe operation and sterilization techniques for the machine. Working on the fly, the staff view a demonstration with a piece of raw chicken, a sight no one had seen before. This tool that we are lightheartedly test driving will undoubtedly save many new born children and mothers. No longer will the staff need to suture each blood vessel by hand, drastically cutting back on anesthesia, blood loss, and precious time. This machine helps complete a new delivery and surgery ward. With an affectionate goodbye, we leave planning future collaboration.
The tally for the end of the day comes up to 130 clinic patients and 17 kiddos helped by the volunteers across three facilities and diverse practices. The orthopedics team continued their surgical collaboration at the adult hospital, having had a very busy day too.
The amazing photos from the Romania Mission are provided by Vlad Catana. You can follow his work at www.facebook.com/VladCatanaPh
Click on an image for larger gallery view.