Day 3 begins with a breakfast meeting at 7:00 am. After volunteer introductions within the group and a heartfelt welcome to the team from Dr. Manuel Avila, Dr. Powell led discussions around availability of the OR for the week. He engaged the team in a plan for scheduling other functions around the OR timing and spoke to the importance of the partnership that makes the mission happen: each party being critical to the goal of helping the poor gain access to specialized medical care. Of course, True North Missions Society could not facilitate this mission without our alliance with Dr. Manuel Avila, the support of local rotarians, an invitation and welcome from Santa Ines Hospital and our generous supporters, Smith and Nephew (who provide the necessary instruments and implants), but also, the mission depends on our dedicated volunteers and monetary contributors. We are blessed with all the necessary ingredients.
TNMS understands the importance of relationships and, as in previous years, the message is shared that we must treat with utmost care, our approach in dealing with the local people and organizations with which we are working. Respect, education for all, small footprint, engage with people, serve the poor.
That process was put into motion at the clinic where TNMS’s doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, joint replacement specialists and general volunteers evaluated over 40 patients to assess viability for surgery this week. When we arrived today at the clinic, most of these patients were waiting outside, and were very happy to see our team (just as we were happy to see them!). Every team member worked especially hard today as we funnelled each patient, one by one, in to see the doctors. Those team members able to translate were in high demand all day, and did incredible work today as they were pulled in several directions by doctors, nurses and volunteers needing to communicate with our patients. The experience was inspiring and, at the same time, deflating, as we all felt the excitement for those who were to receive promising life changing surgery and disappointment for those who were not candidates for surgical help (for various medical reasons). All went smoothly and 28 patients were booked for surgery (3 on the waiting list in case of cancellations).