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 that or watch a video on YouTube if you want more information)… and more TURPs. It is an amazing procedure and greatly enhances the quality of life for Ugandan men.
Dr. Barbara McGrath is our plastic surgeon. She will be working closely with the patients in the burn unit. She will be doing burn scar revisions and skin grafts. There is a great burn unit at St. Mary’s Lacor so she will be able to help many children.
Dr. Brandon Johnson is our ENT. He started out coming to Gulu as a resident and now has a resident of his own on this trip. He and Andrew Holcomb are treating many thyroid issues and other related cases. The work is very delicate and the cases can be long.
Dr. Liz Germinder rounds out the team this year. She is a general surgeon and will be repairing hernias, removing masses and providing relief to patients who suffer from lipomas or other issues.
The days are long. Our anesthesia team arrives early and patients are prepped and waiting when the surgeons arrive. The Ugandan people are patient and wait quietly while our nurses take vital signs, start IVs and reassure their patients that they are in good hands. The OR buzzes with activity. The Ugandans and Americans work side by side in a spirit of collaboration. There are student nurses starting their first IV under the guidance of a nurse who has been practicing for years. Teaching is a focus on all of our medical missions.
Our plan today is to complete at least 21 cases, but we always manage to fill in the gaps during the day so that number may grow. No one complains about working long hours; it is expected as we try to help as many people as possible in the short time we are in Gulu.
Our day is nearly concluded and the PACU team recovers the final patients. Some will spend the night at the hospital while others will go home to heal. In Uganda, families take care of their loved ones. They provide their meals and help any way they can. Nurses administer medication and provide medical care, but the patient’s family shoulder much of the burden.
Our team will soon be headed back to our hotel to discuss the day’s events and enjoy each other’s company. The team bonds during our mission to Uganda. By the end of the week, we are colleagues, mission veterans, and most importantly of all, we are friends!
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