Romania Day 3 2014
Nearly 500 consultations, 30 surgeries, over 150 pairs of glasses, thousands of vitamins, hundreds of toothbrushes, and toys shared – these are the results of the first three days of Medical Missions Foundation activity in Botosani.
The team is keeping busy with seven surgeries performed already at the Children’s Hospital, 3 major laparoscopic surgeries at the Adult Hospital, and about 6 procedures performed by Dr. Malancea (the Romanian Orthopedic Doctor) in collaboration with our Orthopod – Dr. Heddings.
The team operated on burn patients, removed polyps, performed colon resections, a canaloplasty, umbilical and hiatal hernia… they made lives better and operated on babies and on elderly alike; we don’t send anyone away.
Team work is the goal. Our mission here is not just performing surgery, it’s building relationships and creating an opportunity for ongoing support and teaching for the local doctors. Most of them know exactly how to approach even very complicated cases, but their limited technology and supplies prevent them from providing the services they are trained to do.
The clinic has been seeing a steady stream of patients, with the bulk of them coming in the morning. Crowd control is a bit difficult at times, but the Medical Missions Foundation volunteers and their translators do a good job keeping things under control. Lyn and George are mission veterans and have the clinic running very smoothly.
Our dental hygienist, Tammy Sutton, does what she does best: she teaches kids and their parents proper teeth brushing technique. The “dental dog” is very popular and really captures the little ones’ attention. Tammy brought hundreds of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and she’s nearly out. Time for Laura, our mission coordinator, to clear the toothpaste and toothbrush aisles at the local supermarket.
In this photo, Tammy is posing with Anca, one of mission’s long-time protegees. She is one of the thousands of children who, at age 18, are thrown out of Government-owned orphanages or foster homes. Sometimes they end up on the streets, other times they don’t have a place to sleep, which is why Medical Missions Foundation tries to help Anca with clothes and winter supplies each time we visit.
Our ER General physicians and our Nurse Practitioner Mary had all-day consultations, with little or no breaks. It’s difficult to take a bio-break when there are lines of people clogging the hallway since 7am. Some of them are elderly. Some kids were taken out of school, so the team has a sense of responsibility and most times, they barely make lunch. “We came here to work” they say, but Doina, our Romanian cook and long-time mission friend, makes sure everyone gets nourished so they can go right back to work.
Doctor consults were held continuously in both the Adult Hospital and at Children’s, some of them during the breaks in between surgeries.
Andreea Ioana Asaftei is 12 years old and was born with infantile cerebral paralysis. Although she can hardly walk, Andreea came to American doctors, hoping for an expert’s opinion.
Dr. Jim and George continued their consultations at the public orphanages in Dorohoi and locally, in Botosani. Again, they were received with enthusiasm by the workers and with curiosity by the kids. Today they saw mostly teens and pre-teens, some of who have been in the state’s care since birth. The Child Protection Agency does not allow our team to take pictures of the orphans, but the image of every child’s face is burnt in our volunteers’ memories. These kids are part of the reason why we keep coming back to Romania, year after year.
The team has worked tirelessly another full day. We covered lots of ground between the Adult Hospital, the Children’s Hospital the Clinic and the off-site orphanages.
6 surgeries are already scheduled at the Children’s Hospital for tomorrow and at least three major laparoscopic surgeries at the Adults. Dr. J is booked for an orphanage in the nearby city of Pomarla and George will visit an orphanage close to the Children’s hospital – leisurely walk through what will hopefully be another gorgeous day in Botosani.
The day ended with George’s traditional Hawaiian Party, where we got to see the Kids from Deb’s House, a local american-run orphanage that we’ve been collaborating with since it first opened its doors to these amazing little Romanians – in 2003. We show our translators and even some of the medical staff we work with some of our American traditions.
Laura Conde & Dumitru Calinescu
Photos by David F. McKinney ©2014