Improvisation…that is the word of the day; whether you talk to the volunteers from Santa Ines or those from the military hospital. In an unfamiliar environment, where our medical professionals are intent on maintaining the highest standard of care possible, there are a few hurdles to overcome as the patient processing is organized, OR set up and each volunteer is locating the resources they need to do their job properly. Although the day got off to a slow start and did become a late evening for some, it all came together well; five hips were completed, two hernias repaired (our hopeful 3 year old hernia did not show!) and seven cataract patients treated – a great first day – a great group of volunteers – cohesive, organized and innovative.
As our Dr. Joby John put it “the importance of coming into an environment like this and making due with what you have, in order to help these people, cannot be overstated”
Again, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of our hosts. The Director of the Military hospital welcomed the team as they arrived in the morning and made it clear we were welcome to help.
As well, some very nice ladies from a local rotary club also delivered coffee, water and snacks – very kind.
Additionally, a local resident who cooks from her home, has once again agreed to cook home made lunches for the team even though our team grew from 14 to 22 to…now 38! She is still taking on the task – thank you to her as well!
Education and Teaching Role
Not only has True North Missions Society grown in it’s contribution of medical procedures, but the charity has responded to a request from Dr. Avila to attend a local medical University to share medical knowledge. When Dr. Temple completed his two surgeries today, he was off to lecture at a local University to 2nd and 3rd year medical students. With the aid our translator, Dr. Diane Asper Ayer, he lectured, addressing the topic of oncology and specifically, breast cancer. His lecture was extremely well received and he will speak again to two more large groups this week. Dr. Walley Temple is recognized and respected internationally as a key contributor to the study and treatment of cancer; specifically in the area of breast cancer surgery and for his innovative ‘hot chemo’ cancer treatment. He was recently honoured at an International Symposium on Cancer Surgery and he has filled the position of Chief of Surgical Oncology at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre from 1983 to 2012. Cancer is of increasing concern in Ecuador, just as it is in our country, and given the high occurence of osteogenic sarcoma and breast cancers, the opportunity to learn from Dr. Walley Temple is much appreciated.
He is a busy doctor with patient assessments first thing in the morning, surgeries to follow and then capping off his day with a lecture for two more afternoons this week. However, he is very happy to contribute, always with a smile, and he really appreciated learning more about the medical system and increasing trend of standardization amoung the 112 medical schools in Ecuador (serving a poplulation of more than 13 million people).
In addition to the lectures, there is also a sharing of knowledge between our volunteer orthopedic surgeons and the ortho group at Santa Ines hospital on Thursday evening. This is customary on the mission trip and well received.