Our last afternoon in the operating rooms went extremely smoothly! We even had a visit from the Cuenca newspaper, El Mercurio, who is doing a story on the mission and the Rotary’s involvement. Everyone is very positive and the team has found a groove over the course of the last 2 days. We have been able to keep up with the very high standards that we set for ourselves each day even though typically there is a bottleneck in the system; most often one that would be hard to predict. Sometimes we lack OR space, processing of instruments is delayed meaning surgeries cannot start, or we run out of beds for patients in the ward. These are all typical bottlenecks, among many other challenges that the team overcomes, but our team has been blessed with a mixture of both luck and good planning, avoiding these hiccups as we finished off the surgical portion of the mission. Today, we slated 10 surgeries across 3 ORs and completed all 10 by around 7pm. As of tonight, we have completed 44 surgeries, more than any other previous mission in the history of our charity.
The reason we are so excited about giving care to more people each year is the fact that there is so much need for it in Ecuador – with word of the mission spreading to other countries like Peru. We treat people each year that are desperate for help, and travel many hours only to arrive in Cuenca with no money and no place to stay just to see our team of doctors. We want to help as many of these people as we can, but ultimately there are only so many cases that we can handle each year. Being able to make a larger impact this year over any other year is a huge success for the team, one which we feel proud to celebrate.
One of the patients we treated this year, Maria, an 72 year old woman from 30 mins outside Cuenca. She has 3 adult children, lives alone and washes clothes to earn a living. She was experiencing severe hip pain and received a total hip replacement from our team this year. One of her children, Delores, was actually a previous patient! Delores also received a hip replacement a couple of years ago and due to the impact that surgery has had on her, Delores brought her mother to see us this year. It was incredible to see the multi-generational effect the mission has had on that family. We wish them all the best as Maria recovers.
Another patient, Franco, was kicked by a cow multiple times about 10 years ago. He was lucky to be alive at the time and sustained many injuries, one of which was a fractured pelvis. He has been working with his hip injury for the last 10 years and our team was able to replace it this year, which is life changing.
Tonight, we are celebrating what we were able to achieve this week and the impact that we are having on our patients. Tomorrow, we are up early again to begin packing and provide post operative care for our remaining patients on the ward.