Journal entry from 1st time missioner, Cid. October 4, 2011
We awakened to a heavy rain this morning. The trek to the hospital was interesting as one of the cabs broke down half way to the hospital and our missioners came by foot on the soggy roads. The line of patients was growing long by 8:00am, wrapping around like the security area of an airport. The clinic is closed on Mondays, creating additional demand on Tuesdays. By 9:00 a.m. the sun was bright and the birds were singing. Our team worked until 7:00pm, hoping we would not fall behind for the week.
The gynecology clinic was very crowded from the start and by the end of the day 75 patients had been seen or examined by the four doctors. Dr. Carrie Giordano and Dr. Katie Gualandri performed surgery on a woman who had a very difficult prolapsed uterus. They closed the day with a dual surgery case – a gall bladder removal by general surgeon Dr. Tim Van Natta, then a Burch procedure by the GYN team.
Dr. John Oldershaw (neurology) and Dr. Nancy Streitmatter (cardiology) have had a steady stream of patients every day. Many of our cardiology patients suffer from stress and tension and their hearts are strained by a very labor-intensive lifestyle. Neurology patients have typically come to get help with chronic headaches.
The dermatology team, Dr. Jay Hermann and Dr. Ted Conrad, headed to the rural communities with the public health professional from the hospital to provide care for those who are unable to travel into Coroico. The people came from every nook and cranny to see the doctors. They saw cases of scabies, lice, melanoma and warts to name a few of the skin concerns. The conditions and lack of resources these Bolivian people have is quite eye opening and amazing. Good hygiene is difficult with a water shortage, dirt roads and limited plumbing. When they returned to our hospital, the derm team saw a lot of patients who had been waiting with for them from the start of the day.
The stream of patients continued late and our team is committed to seeing as many as the hospital administration and staff are able to handle. We had a great day and as we reflected over dinner we felt a huge sense of accomplishment.