What is a great day for a surgery team in Belize? We asked that question at breakfast this Sunday morning after our first full surgery day on Saturday. We all agreed that it was a great day yesterday. Why? We are a team that has never seen each other, much less worked together (except for Dr. Logeman and three of our repeat nurses). It is hard to mesh and form and perform as a new team in a strange place with almost everything being just a bit different. Different instruments, different anesthesia machines, different procedures, different hospital staff for support. So what makes a great first day? First of all, we had a team that chose to get along and find ways to assign roles and function together. That is hard to do, and our team did it with grace and efficiency. Dr. Logeman said he had some fears of how he would feel operating with a new team, for the first time in Belize after all these years of coming to help as a general health evaluation doctor. He said it “felt like being back in Cincinnati in surgery,” to him. That allowed him to perform five cases and get the whole team home by 6:15 PM. Many times, first days end up with late nights and then pushes the team to begin with fatigue the next morning. A great day means no patients were in crisis. All cases were performed and patients recovered quickly and able to leave. There was an 82 year old man with a pacemaker. He was rock solid all through his surgery as far as heart rate and vitals under anesthesia. That was a real “God moment.” The anesthesia team, led by Dr. Shari Matvey Fry and supported by CRNAs Jennifer Wilborne and Courtney Youngs handled all the cases just like they were back at their home hospitals. The team added an american tradition of a final check. Once in surgery with the patient, the surgeon asked everyone in the room to stop what they are doing and checks to make sure everyone knows their role, anything special or different about this patient and this case. This is a new practice done around the world. In Belize,the nursing staff does that check in advance currently, but we wanted to add this extra level of final check for the team.
At dinner there were a lot of celebrations last night and a chance to meet a new team coming to perform cataract surgery and other eye surgery in a stand alone eye clinic built a hundred yards below the hospital operations theater. They are two dozen doctors and nurses and support staff that perform a bi-annual clinic in their own building where they have permanent facilities.
Yesterday we got a call from the airport that we had a bag we did not even realize we lost. We had already gotten another one that we knew we lost. This one was sent last night to the tourist island and this morning flown to us in Corozal. It had more school supplies for next week’s team to give to students coming on Friday night. Surgery began again this morning in Corozal Community Hospital.