Posting here at day four, the week has gone by so quickly. We are in San Filipe Today, twenty miles below Orange Walk Towne performing a clinic. Yesterday we were in east Corozal Region in Progresso Village and of course the day before we were in Trial Farm. We saw 250 patients at Trial Farm, and 300 in Progresso, the count has not come back yet for San Filipe. Tomorrow the Village Team heads to San Victor, the very village we began our global service in back in 2004.
Last night a small group of us headed to have dinner with Gilberto Chi, age 7, and his mother Alexandra. We have a lot of history with them, as they needed to visit Cincinnati where Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital donated cleft palate surgery to Gilberto. He stayed several weeks before and after the surgery. He also needs some surgery on his back, now that he is older and it is critical that this be done soon. The goal is to get him to St. Louis where between Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital St. Louis, he can safely have his surgery performed. He is not able to have his surgery done safely in Belize due to an adverse reaction to anesthesia that happens in a small number of cases. Dr. Michael Hawryschuk and Dr. Will Chan and Meg Chan, as well as Dr. Robert Pence and Brandy and Pasha Pence attended dinner in this Belize home. Natalie Eckart and John Kirby also joined. There, they were treated like royalty and served a meal the family had worked on for some days to honor those who had helped to host them and bring them in Cincinnati for this life changing surgery for Gilberto. When Gilberto goes to St. Louis for his next step of surgical needs, he will be hosted by Dr. Robert Wilmott and his wife, Catherine. We had them travel to meet Gilberto when he came home from school today.
There, they stopped to meet the family. There is a huge fear of going to meet someone new in a new city. There is nothing like meeting on your “home turf” to help make the idea of going on yet another journey to another US city seems within the range of available courage.
The Anesthesia Team is especially large this year to allow for a two day, country wide training of the majority of the anesthesia providers in Belize. There are 12 MDs in anesthesia and 24 CRNAs. All were invited to see the new ultrasound that will allow for safe nerve block placement. This is those who attended Sunday, and another group were trained on Monday. It was Dr. Michael Hawryschuk’s insistence and persistence that resulted in Partners for Medical Relief offering this workshop and raising the funds for the machine and probe. This is a technology that allows for safe placement of a nerve block. While used for the last twenty years in the US, now the Belize people have both the training and the device. This will be controlled by the Nursing Council of Belize and checked out as needed for planned surgeries. In the past, nerve damage was common due to missing the nerve when trying to guess where the internal nerve was when placing local anesthesia.
We all report in at breakfast in the morning about the previous day’s activities and have a short devotional. We also ask for food orders for dinner for those who want an alternate to dinner (first world stuff). Also reporting in today was Dr.Greg Lam to tell of the two day heart clinic in Corozal Hospital and Norther Regional Hospital and the echocardiograms in Progresso and Trial Farm.