Uganda 2018 – Meeting the Team
Every person treated by our team makes a stop at our scheduling desk. This year, scheduling responsibilities are handled by Bobbi Zink and Erica Smith. They track the progress of the people we treat throughout the entire
process. Patients arrive early in the morning and go-in-out all day. Bobbi and Erica know where everyone is at any time.
Our PACU team is staffed by Lou Brady, Ally Spier, Sarah Heldstab, Livi Pennington, Meredith Jackson and Katherine King. This sub-team take vitals, start IVs and entertain patients while they wait for surgery. Toys and games keep both young and old occupied. Bubbles often make an appearance when the youngest patients are waiting.
Candace Lindley and Kay Johnston take care of patients once they leave the PACU and enter the ward in the hospital; Kay and Candace have worked together for 4 years now. Kay takes the night shift and sleeps at a guest house on the hospital grounds during the day. She comes on and works from 7 pm until 7 am when Candace comes in to help with rounds and starts her day.
Our OR staff gets more steps in than anyone this week. They run back and forth to gather supplies from the store room, treat patients, sterilize instruments and prepare the patients for their surgeries. We are fortunate to have surgical technologists and nurses in each room; they work seamlessly to ensure the needs of the patients and their surgeons are accommodated. Our OR staff is led by Pepper Card, a mission veteran. She works with Margie Ross, MC Bradley, Morgan Macwhorter, Kaylee Hodges, Kaylee Zaiontz, Jessie Roth and Kristen Russell.
The “sleep staff” this week include our anesthesiologist, Dr. Mike McCartney. He floats from room to room assisting as needed. Ty Townsend is our anesthesia assistant. Stephanie Klamm, Jeremy Olsen, and Daran Chaput are the CRNAs on the team this year. They make sure the patients are stable and comfortable so they sleep well during their surgeries. They help the patients breathe, monitor vitals, and when surgery is over, wake the patients up and transport them to the PACU.
Aside from the work we do at the hospital, our missions also include educational components. This year, we are focusing on self-sufficiency and teaching CPR and lifesaving skills from Tuesday – Thursday to our Ugandan counterparts. Mary Smith, Bethany Brown and Sarah Heldstab will be leading the classes for nursing students and hospital staff from Lacor Hospital. Teaching self-sufficiency will allow Medical Missions Foundation to eventually conclude our mission in Gulu and bring life-changing medical help to other locations around the world.
Art remains a critical piece of our mission. Medical Missions Foundation has always believed that art can bring healing and every mission includes an art team. They bring joy, caring and love to patients and their families. The team is comprised of Paul Hudson, Carly Mantia and Maddie Wilson. They teach crafts, hand out goodies and entertain both children and adults alike.
We included 3 additional clinical personnel as well this year. They are working in the Emergency Room and are traveling to a local village to work in collaboration with local providers. Drs. Don Hodson and David Dickerson are joined by Lana Davies, a nurse practitioner. They are all mission veterans and are anxious to learn about the diseases and issues affecting Ugandans living in the villages surrounding Gulu.
The staff of the burn unit are busy from morning until night. The patients who spend time there are among the most in-need of those we serve. They are mostly young people burned by accidental fires. The Ugandans cook over open charcoal stoves and burns are a sad reality for many children playing too close to the fires. Those who work in the burn unit are special people. They push aside their emotions for a little while as they change dressings and debride burns. The process is painful, but necessary to help the injuries heal. Katharine Hauge is our physical therapist. She splits her time between the burn unit, the PT ward and the OR where she builds splints. Mandy Sims and Amy Taitt are registered nurses new to the burn unit. They work with Amy Paulson, an occupational therapist and Carla Northington, a registered nurse specializing in burns. Together, they are a mighty team dedicated to relieving the suffering of these burn patients.
As for me, your blogger and active observer of all things on this medical mission, I do whatever needs to be done at that particular moment. I write about what we do and photograph it. I find people and items. I am the banker for the team and the answerer of questions. I make sure our team gets where they need to be and when they need to be there. The rest of it just takes care of itself.
The people on our team are a group of individuals who come together for a single purpose. They all know the days are long, the climate is less than ideal, and they have to make do with what is available. Together, we bond under difficult circumstances. We are Team Uganda 2018!
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