HEALTH TALENTS INTERNATIONAL
GUATEMALA EYE SURGERY CLINIC
November 21-25, 2004

Participants: Drs. Brad Britton, Johanna Britton and Darrell Pickard; Nurse Jurdean Reed; Ancillary Personnel Benjamin Britton, Jonathon Britton, Nathaniel Britton, Brayden Pickard, Steven Shoemaker and Rick Harper.

All passengers and luggage arrived in Guatemala, always a good way to start the trip. (This wasn’t the case in August as some luggage missed the flight, so we always celebrate the arrival a participants and bags.) We proceeded to Seteca to spend the night and held our pre-travel meeting in the parking lot of Seteca while waiting on keys.

Upon arrival at Clinica Ezell the next morning, we had breakfast and did some initial unpacking and setting up before walking across the road to church.

We returned to Ezell, had lunch, completed exams and screening before beginning surgery a bit after 2:00. Drs. Brad Britton and Darrell Pickard brought some of their personal equipment that was used to identify the best lens for cataract patients as well as measuring the actual pressure on the retina as another step in the screening process. Surgery would continue well into the evening as the eighth patient was completed around 9:30. The first day is always the toughest as the routine is established and our surgeons adjust to the "old fashioned" way of doing eye surgery.

On Monday we received seven girls and one of the fathers from the Monte Maria School in Guatemala City to assist in translation and patient care. Carmen Maria Batres, Isa Beltranena, Andrea Garcia, Karen Molina, Carlo Olivero, Maria Mercedes Valle, Rosario Yaquian are volunteering their time as past of a school project. Isa’s father, Dr. Francisco Beltranena is one of the foremost optometrist in Guatemala and an instructor at San Marroguin University. He worked with us throughout the day and offered to provide us with university residents to assist with our August 05 team. In addition to helping with patients, the students taught the US teens a Spanish prayer that they could use with patients going in for surgery.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, we had provided surgical care to twenty-four patients with a couple receiving both pterygium and cataract surgery. Our OR nurse had trained us all on the "Jurdean way" and we began to function as well-oiled team. All surgical procedures, screening for Wednesday’s patients and exams were completed by 7:00.

Wednesday went so smooth that the group traveled to Xejeyup and hiked up to the waterfall that afternoon. Dr. Brad Britton drove one pickup and experienced true off-road driving, Guatemala style.

On Thursday, we treated another eleven patients to bring the five day total to forty-one. By Friday morning all were doing well and the team began packing up for the trip to Antigua. Another day when God was glorified at Clinica Ezell!