2015 HRFU Guatemala Trip Summary
This was HRFU’s first mission in Guatemala. We were fortunate enough to work in collaboration with the Hospital Niño Jesús, Fundación Pediátrica. This facility is a five story, narrow, high-rise in downtown Guatemala. Our local host was Ariel Marroquín, Director of Operations of Partners for Surgery and Asociación Compañero Para Cirugía. Ariel is a young man, fluent in English who attended the University of Alabama. He functioned as our guide and safeguarded all of our transportation in Guatemala. Liset Olivet, Executive Director of Partners for Surgery and Asociación Compañero Para Cirugía, was a gracious host and on our last day she gave us all Guatemala purses, even the men.
Our first day at the hospital was Sunday, where the anesthesiologists pre-oped all the patients for surgery that week. Meanwhile, the rest of the team set up two surgery rooms. This facility is completely modernized as we were met by a biomed engineer, Joe. He made sure all the equipment and electronics were functioning for our surgeries. This hospital also had nurses, Irma and Maria Elena, who sterilized all of our instruments.
Our team was very small, consisting of members from Colorado, New York City and Omaha:
Dr. Mark Reiner – Adult Surgeon
Dr. David Partrick – Pediatric Surgeon
Dr. Daniel Rowen – Adult Anesthesiologist
Dr. Cynthia Ferris – Pediatric Anesthesiologist
Barb Haines, RN – Post Op
Sonya Cap, RN – Adult Circulator
Sarah Targoff, RN – Pediatric Circulator
Jamie Genre, CST – Pediatric Scrub
Amy Vinton, CST – Adult Scrub
Barb Elliott, RN – Coordinator
Mike Elliott – Admissions & Discharge Coordinator
I think what impressed us most about the trip was that Partners for Surgery took complete care of all patients. They have a beautiful facility that provided room and board for all patients through the week. They transported the patients to and from the facility for surgery. An ambulance was on standby outside of the hospital – available for emergencies. They had a fully staffed post-operative floor where patients stayed the night. There were many full-time physicians and nurses to care for these patients post-operatively and overnight.
Dr. Mynor Alvarez, a local family practitioner, examined the patients and took care of all the patients from post-op to admission to the floor. He took care of any medical problems that arose and would administer pain medications as needed. We repaired 24 pediatric hernias and 39 adult hernias, with one very complicated scrotal hernia. There were no complications during or after surgery.
We were provided lunch every day by Partners for Surgery. There were many volunteers from Partners for Surgery who helped transport patients up steep ramps and assisted with the discharge of patients.
Our team stayed at a beautiful historical hotel called the Posada Belin, only five blocks from the hospital. As we were there during the rainy season, it poured daily, about 2-4 inches per day. There are many historical sites in Zone 1, where we were located. However, due to the rain we were unable to see much.
We want to thank everyone from Partners for Surgery, especially Ariel and Liset, for a wonderful safe mission.