Health Talents International
January Surgical Clinic Jan 17-23

Team Participants: Surgeons: Danny Minor, Ed Grogan, Eric Grogan, Tommy Hatchett, Ken Mitchell, Kristina McCain; General Medicine: Michelle West; Anesthesia: Henry Lowery, Kevin Burns, Josh Alexander, Jeremy Hayes, Jeff Thurman; Nurses: Sheri Kretzschmar, Kelly Smith, Karen Bradley, Leah Bradshaw, Mary Dodd, Rebecca Stowe, Vicki Ratts, Tina Howell, Tausha Cassell, Bonnie Spink, Brittney Cover, Shawn Oberlies, Carolyn Hatter, Sarah Sizemore, Martha Kennedy; EMT: Jonathan Clemens, Jack Rowe; CNA: Terri Clemens; Translator: Nadia Aguilera, Petra Wirrell, Mario Rosas; Sterilization: Leslie Minor, Todd Ratts, Herb minor; Chaplain: Rick Walker; Non-Medical: Daryl Lind, Lindsey Bradley, Josh Grim, Emily Glasser, Sam Yaws, Jane Bennie, Jeremy Hatter; Team Leaders: Rick Harper, Julie Wheetley

On Saturday morning everyone caught their flights to Houston and met up at the gate. The whole team arrived right on time with all luggage in Guatemala. Once the bags were picked up and customs was cleared the team loaded everything onto the bus and headed for Montellano. Once we arrived at Clinica Ezell the flurry of activity began. Supplies were unpacked and stored and the OR suites and nursing stations were prepared for the week to come.

At the airport we said adios to Kris McCain and Jane Bennie. They headed off to Chichi with Lisa and Kemmel for a colposcopy clinic for the week. They saw many patients and were able to do a good bit of training with the highland staff. We appreciate Kris sharing her time and expertise with our staff at Clinica Caris.

The general surgery crew was especially blessed by Kelly Smith and her WV crew who prepared and carried down general surgery packs with everything needed for surgery! We were certainly grateful to Kelly for all her hard work getting the packs together and recruiting enough people to help her carry them down to Guatemala! Once the supplies were unpacked and organized and pre-op evaluations were done, dinner was served. After dinner the team met for some brief orientation, sang a couple of songs, prayed for the week and said goodnight. One of the prayer requests listed was for an eight week old baby in need of a heart transplant. The next day Eric Grogan announced that God had answered our prayer and provided a heart for this little boy! We rejoiced together in prayer for both the family receiving the heart and the family that would be surrounded by grief over that same gift.

Sunday morning started out early with breakfast at 7, church at 10, medical orientation at 12:30, followed by lunch and operating. The first day was amazingly smooth since so many of the OR crew were veteran trip participants. As the operating got under way a group also headed out to the Cacao farm to visit the Ceiba tree and Don Augusto and family. All in all the day was a great success and surgery was wrapped up in time for dinner which was followed by the devotional.


Rick Walker from Golden, CO served as chaplain and was able to help us focus on the purpose of our time there in service. Rick challenged everyone to do the things that we “should do” immediately instead of putting them off. He not only challenged the team to do that but lead by example as he worked with Mario Rosas as his translator to speak to the patients about Christ and to share his story with each of their families. Rick was seen all week long in prayer with patients, their families, and team members. Having his challenging messages each night was a true privilege for the team.

Monday was the first full day of surgery and things continued to run rather smoothly. Todd Ratts was a whiz in the sterilization room with his assistants Leslie and Herb. Herb, Dr. Danny Minor’s 90 year old father was a fun addition to the team. He was involved in helping improve things in sterilization and fixing things up around the place. Everyone on the trip was hoping to be like him some day, 90 years old and still serving God in the mission field! While the sterilization crew scrubbed away Sam and Jerry busied themselves with fixing just about everything that needed work at Clinica Ezell! Having handy men like them around is always a blessing and the sterilization room felt it the most this week as the men worked on fixing their air conditioning unit!

The operating went smoothly throughout the rest of the week and the nurses in the recovery ward stayed right on top of things and gave superb care to each patient. The week was blessed with a great many capable nurses and nurses aids. This showing of nurses was certainly an answer to our prayers! Vicki Ratts served as our head nurse and between her and Bonnie Spink they had everyone organized and working smoothly from day one. We really appreciate their help and commitment to the patients. Sheri K. and Sarah S. also get a nice pat on the back for working all night long three nights in a row!

A couple of the surgery days were slower so more trips were taken out to both the cacao farm and the waterfall. Many team members were able to take both trips and get to see a great deal of the Guatemalan countryside. In addition to that Kevin Burns was able to take little breaks from the OR to paint some scenes from around Clinica Ezell. Kevin got all the anesthesia guys set up and running and still had time to leave a few lovely paintings and sketches behind to be hung around the clinic.

Rick Harper was able to leave the group in Julie’s hands on Thursday morning in time to do some scouting with Kemmel and Baldemar. They ventured into new areas of Guatemala looking for contacts and interest in hosting medical clinics. They had a successful trip and we are hopeful that some of the contacts that were made with develop into possible clinic locations for the future.

Thursday was also a special day for several ABC sponsors. Some of the sponsors had the opportunity to spend some time visiting with their ABC children and their families. The children were simply glowing as they received gifts from their sponsors and got to say thank you and hug the people that had provided food, clothes and so much more for them.

The total patient count for the week was 58 in all with 15 of those being GYN surgery. Thursday was also a short day where only the general surgeons operated. After surgery was over for the day people spread out in the afternoon between the side trips and relaxing around the clinic. That night after dinner the group gathered in the courtyard for the last devotional time together. Everyone had the opportunity to share their experiences about God’s work in their life throughout the week and we closed in prayer.

Friday morning we rose early and headed to Guatemala City. The team made a quick stop at the artisan market near the airport and then caught their flight home. The week had been a great success and a blessing to many patients.

A special treat that this team had was the participation of two of the HTI scholarship students. Nehemias and Julio are both in med school and came to observe and experience as much as they could. Nehemias is pictured below and Julio is shown starting an IV.