Providence trip to Reu, Guatemala

Today, our team prescreened and examined over 70 patients hoping to have surgery this week. Throughout the process today, I learned that, in a hospital, no one walks anywhere, they move at a breakneck pace and hardly anyone ever sits. The team had to be reminded to stop and have lunch as they were working so hard to set up the rooms and see all the potential patients who had traveled for hours and waited all day to be seen by one of the surgeons. There was a constant flow of people who went to the surgeons for pre-op consultations, or the anesthesiologists for exams and tests to determine whether or not they could be operated on at this time. Some were triaged to the house physician for non-surgical treatment and some, heartbreakingly, were told that they were not candidates for surgery at this time. You could see how affected everyone was by those cases as Sister Colleen and Faith in Practice volunteer Joanne comforted those patients and made alternative arrangements for these patients to be seen at the Los Obres Hospital in Antigua or to receive a different course of action. Our translators were working overtime as they made sure the patients could be interviewed thoroughly and the pre-op instructions were communicated to both the patients and loved ones. The nursing staff and the scrub techs HUSTLED to set up all the ORs, unpack all of our crates, and organize all the supplies. I have never seen people work so fast and so well together, that it seemed more like a choreographed dance. They were truly amazing to watch. Finally, after all patients were seen and we were waiting for tomorrow’s surgical schedule to be generated, one very thin, older patient was came out of his room and began expressing his thanks to the staff for taking on his case. Everyone gathered around to listen as he broke down and was comforted by those around him. It is moments like those that make you realize why we are here. Finally, with the day’s work completed, we headed back to the hotel for dinner. After an emotional day, it was nice to gather together for food and hear the laughter, stories and overall camaraderie from the entire team. With 20 patients on the schedule for surgery tomorrow, it was a quick run to the only room at the hotel with wireless to touch base with family and check email, then off to get some rest for that early start tomorrow.

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