Last night, we had a great party with the students, some 80 were invited, who we sponsor for high school. The weather was fantastic and we hade pizza, pop and ice cream as a way to encourage them and have a chance to interact. It could not have gone better. These are really sharp kids in deed.
After a day of travel and a day of preparation, it felt good to operate on some of the many many patients we “screened” through (considered for surgery) and the many medicines we counted (nearly one million pills).
The Surgery Team had over 13 cases for full anesthesia or “local anesthesia.” In the latter the patient is awake and just an area of the body is put under pain restraint during the procedure.The first surgery started at 9:30 and the team was finishing up their last cases at 6 PM. A great first day! This was the first time for many to work with new team members, and for many their first time to operate in Belize. It is quite different from the predictable roles at home. Everyone has to adapt and think more broadly than usual about each case and how to get things done as safely and efficiently as possible.
Trial Farm is a large school, just a mile from the center of Orange Walk where the Northern Regional Hospital is located. We have performed surgery for years at Northern Regional, but for the last two years, we perform surgery in the same location as the hotel, just five miles from the border of Mexico. While the first eight villages these last weeks were from 150 to 250 in patient count, over 300 showed up as “opening day,” for the team this week. They are working even now as we post to try to close up before dark and get back home.