HEALTH TALENTS INTERNATIONAL
February Gyn/Plastics Surgery Team
February 14, 2009

Participants

Gyn Surgeons – Drs. Jud Allen, Mark Kellum, Roy Kellum, Joel Payne; Plastic Surgeons – Drs. Dwayne Fulks, Mike Hueneke, Philip Strawther; Cardiologist – Dr. Quinton Dickerson; Radiologist – Dr. Dan Massie; Anesthesia – Dr. Jeff Bennie, CRNAs Tiffany Horton, Matthew Johnson, Lorie Taylor; Nurses – Nancy Bennie, Lisa Cantrell, Ann Cross, Freda Gardner, Jan Harper, Joy Kellum, Linda Osborne, Martha Oyston, Brenda Robinson, and Misty Vance; Harding Nursing Students –Hannah Plexico, Laura Reeder, Janelle Sladek; Harding PA Student – Lindsey Pierce; Med Tech – Louise Clites; X-Ray Tech – Charles Amsden; Chaplain - Craig Kelley; Translator – Camilo Verdu; Sterilization – Alfred Anderson, Doyle Robinson, Bill Strawther; Compassionate Volunteers – Kyle Bellamy, Natalie Bennie, Rita Benson, Ann Dickerson, Ellen Dudley, Mary Anne Hornbuckle, Susan Kellum, Susan Payne, Marjorie Strawther; HTI Team Leader – Marie Agee.

Amazingly, everyone arrived on time, as did all the luggage! We’ve learned that you can’t take that for granted. We departed immediately for Clinica Ezell and arrived without incident. After unloading the bus and unpacking surgical supplies, it was finally time for supper. Craig Kelley gave an inspiring message about the need to serve from our “fullness,” not our neediness. The more spiritually full we are will result in our having even more and richer desire to serve God.

During church on Sunday morning, we couldn’t help but notice the many babies present with cleft lips/palates whose parents had brought for evaluation. It was clear to me that many were way too small to be operated on. Dr. Philip Strawther confirmed this to me later, but he was able to offer the families guidance in helping the babies gain weight so that surgery would be an option. A plastic surgeon's surgical skills make such an immediate difference in the lives of our tiniest patients. The parents come in with a baby who has serious facial deformities, and leave a day or two later with much thanksgiving for the "instant" changes that give them such hope for the child's future. It is one of the most satisfying things we do at Clinica Ezell.

Dr. Walter and Rosario provided orientation to the surgical team, explaining forms and procedures. The operations then began in earnest. Four women were operated on that afternoon and only one baby. All the patients did well.

On Monday it was a different story. Everything did go well most of the day, but the very last woman to be operated on, whose name was Maria, began experiencing internal bleeding a couple of hours later. Her blood pressure dropped dramatically and she was unresponsive. With much prayer and intense focus, Dr. Jud Allen took her back into surgery to determine the problem. Others spent time in prayer as we waited. After what seemed like an eternity, we received word that the bleeding had stopped, and the team had used the cell saver to recycle the blood she had lost, putting it back into her body. She immediately stabilized and made it thru the night quite well. Praise God!

Earlier in the day several on the team contributed to the constant effort to keep our supplies inventory in good shape. This time we concentrated on disposing of any sutures that were than two years old. Some worked in the “clean” room in the surgery suite, and three of us (Craig Kelley, Susan Payne and I) worked in our outside storehouse that we affectionately call the “sauna.” Our work also included rearranging boxes to make room for the new container that should arrive in just a few weeks.

On Tuesday morning four of us had to leave to return to the States. I understand that we missed the surprise birthday party that Martha Oyston threw for her friend, Mary Anne Hornbuckle on Tuesday evening! Surgery continued at Clinica Ezell thru noon on Thursday, and all went well. The final number of surgical cases was 21 gyn cases and 11 plastic surgeries. As always, we offer our deepest thanks to God for allowing us the privilege of serving in this way…and for keeping our patients safe.