HEALTH TALENTS INTERNATIONAL
TRIP REPORT
Clinica Ezell, Montellano, Guatemala
September 9-16, 2006

Team Members: Drs.: Brian Alexander, Benny Cleveland, Scott Ballinger, Aaron Davidson, Bob Elder, Monique Jones, Jim Martenson, Jaclyn Van Nes, Steve Parry and Carolyn Thompson; CRNA’s: Eddie Milam; RN’s: Glenn Berkey, Neva Berkey, Justa Cancel, Roni Johnson, Maryann Jozkowsky, Sheri Kretzshmar, Nick Maynard, Bonnie Spink, Norma Wall, Chris Zimpritsch; Surgical Techs: Jennifer Prevatt, Richard Yates; Surgery Asst: Truda Milam, Michael Johnson; Pharmacy Tech: Starla Beaman; Physical Therapy Asst: Cherri Crain; Sonogram Tech: Barbara Clemons; Chaplain: Mike Buckley; Sterilization: Alfred Anderson, Billy Jung, Kelly Milam; Translators: Olga Brazzel, Lucy Howard, Dianne Martin, Michael Martinez; Recovery Room Caregivers: Sarah Bell, Ashley Goldman, Patricia Jones, Beverly Milam, Karen Morrison; Mr. Fix-It: John Henry; Trip Leader: Rick Harper.

Our team was made up of forty-three US volunteers, from eleven states and all arrived safely in Guatemala City. By 2:00 we were all loaded on a bus, van and pickup for the trip to Clinica Ezell. We stopped at the Palin Toll Booth Exxon for a bathroom break and snacks, only to see God’s mighty hand protecting us. An eighteen wheeler lost his brakes coming down the mountain and swerved off the road at this same point, missed the gas pumps and the 100 or so customers before crashing into a building behind the gas station. No one was harmed, driver included and all were grateful!

Trip veterans once again commented on their preference for arriving on Saturday afternoon and having the evening to acclimate and prepare for surgery on Sunday. The clinic was well prepared for our arrival, a special thanks to Rosario, Evelyn and Cata for having the OR rooms well stocked. After dinner, we gathered for a devotional lead by Mike Buckley and settled in for a good night of rest.

Sunday got off to a great start by worshipping with the Montellano church family and most of our patients scheduled for that day. Lunch was ready early and we began surgery shortly after 1:00 by running two GYN rooms and one General Room. A total of nine surgeries were completed that day and Dr. Scott Ballinger screened and scheduled patients for ENT surgery on Wednesday and Thursday. This trip marked the first time we’ve done specific ENT work unrelated to the plastic surgery we do each February.

Our newly trained surgical assistants, Michael Johnson and Truda Milam got a real workout on Monday as we completed eighteen surgeries. Not bad for their second day on the job! Kelly Milam began the job or repairing two Pelton-Crane autoclaves in need of some tender, loving, care, while Mr. Fix-It, John Henry, after a bit of improvisation, installed a dental light on a new dental chair. (Well it is new by our standards.)

On Tuesday, several in our team began helping Alex Gonzalez by distributing ABC supplies to communities near Montellano. Whenever possible we try to coordinate this distribution of food and other supplies in an attempt to give our visiting team members a better feel for our overall work. Those who went out returned with a deep appreciation for the ABC Program and the lives it impacts. Our surgery team continued to roll along and completed another fifteen surgeries in route to seventy for the week.

The remaining twenty-eight surgeries were completed on Wednesday and Thursday with an early finish on Thursday. Plenty of time for all who were interested to visit the Xejeyup waterfall or assist in the delivery of ABC supplies. Be sure to look up Brother Jose Yac on your next trip to Montellano. He willingly lost a significant portion of his nose and you may not recognize him!

All in all, it was a God, glorifying week. We washed feet, cared for orphans, widows and widowers, feed the hungry, gave water to the thirsty and tried our best to “teach and heal as Jesus did.”