Health Talents International

Surgical Clinic
September 9-16, 2000

Participants: Drs. Brian Camazine, T.C. Krueger, Ken Mitchell, Barbara Wotherspoon, Charlie Terrell; CRNAs Lynn Jones, Eddie Milam & Jan Pratt, Nurses Anne Ballard, Connie Campbell, Nancy Carlisle, Ashley Dickens, Susan Lafler, Rebecca & Robert Reed, Bonnie Spink, Mona Sutherland, Sandra Thomas, Marilyn Worsham; Surg techs Jimmy Hanley and Karen Shelton; Chaplain Leon Sanderson; Pre-Op Jane Hicks and Dick Tilley; Translators Dianne Martin and Carolena Fuentes; Non-medical Alfred Anderson, Eugene Campbell, Cathy Hanley, Anna Krueger, Gayle Simpkins, and Marie Agee.

Assisted by: Dr. Sergio and Veronica Castillo, Dr. Jim Gill, Sara Holthouser and Marco Diaz. Also assisted by health promoters Maruca, Diego of Xejuyup and Diego of Maxanija, and Hermalindo, the minister from La Florida.

Surgical Clinic Statistics:

Vaginal Hysterectomies 15
Hernia Repair & Cyst Removal 51

Total: 66

Review of Activities:
We arrived in Guatemala on time, but Anne Ballard, one of the nurses, was delayed because her flight was cancelled. Also, 6 of the boxes containing surgical supplies did not arrive with us. We left Marco to pick both of them up the next day.

We arrived in Chocola just before 8, unloaded the bus, had breakfast, then the surgical clinic began. Doctors began examining patients, nurses took a tour of the supply room to find out where everything was, and the anesthesia people began getting their rooms ready. Connie Campbell was head nurse on this trip so she reviewed the schedule with the nurses. By the end of that first day, they had operated on 14 patients, 10 hernia and 4 gyn. All went very smoothly the first day. By the end of the week, we provided care for a total of 66 patients.

Sergio had had some repair work done on the buildings so we actually had lights almost the entire time. They had replaced all the fluorescent bulbs with incandescent ones, which better withstood fluctuations in electrical flow.

Surgical Patients:
No one knew that Dr. Sergio Castillo had scheduled three children for the second day, with the first being a 15-month-old boy who needed hernia repair. This caused quite a bit of anxiety among the anesthesia personnel and nursing staff because children are just more difficult. There was a lot of scurrying around as anesthesia searched to find the proper size equipment. The nurses, in the meantime, discovered that one of them, Sandra Thomas, was actually a pediatric nurse. She hadn't told anyone that that was what she did each day! She was truly the "woman of the hour!"

Despite the initial concern, all the young children fared well, and all went home within a few hours of their surgery.

On Tuesday there was a woman patient who looked 9 months pregnant from Patzité, a very remote Mayan village. She in fact had a very large ovarian cyst, which she had had for eight months. When she first visited Dr. Castillo and he told her that he could get rid of it for her, he said she broke down and cried. When Dr. Ken Mitchell removed it, it was the size of a watermelon and weighed 21 pounds! He discovered that it was a dermoid cyst, complete with teeth and hair.

Another one of Dr. Mitchell's patients this day had an ovarian cyst that was beginning to torque. She had had it for some time, and Dr. Mitchell said that if she had not had surgery that day, she would have been in extremely serious trouble. God's timing is perfect.

On a sad note, a woman in labor came in on Tuesday evening. Her labor progressed through the night then slowed dramatically. She finally delivered on Wednesday afternoon with Dr. Ken Mitchell's help. The baby had respiratory problems, and it took Eddie Milam, one of the CRNAs, nearly an hour to establish stability. With the next 24 hours, it became clear that the baby had problems we were not equipped to handle, so we transferred her to hospital in Mazatenango, about 45 minutes away. The x-rays taken there showed that the baby girl had a very enlarged heart with some deformity. We heard that she later died. It was the couple's first child, so it was unfortunate.

On the day before we left, it became clear that the woman with the dermoid cyst needed a blood transfusion. We had never done one before in Chocola, but Dr. T.C. Kreuger, who had 0- negative blood, immediately volunteered when he heard about the need. It was a very generous, loving thing to do, and it made an immediate difference in the energy level of the woman. We were all touched.

Note from Dr. Brian Camazine: "September 2000 in Guatemala was a great surgical trip. The team worked so well together that we performed a near record number of surgeries with ease. I believe that every member of the team exceeded their capabilities because of the synergism of the group.

For the first time we had a dramatic crossover between the GYN and General surgeons. Dr. Barbara Wotherspoon, an Ob/Gyn resident in Memphis, Tennessee, assisted me with many general surgery cases after completing the GYN surgeries each day with Dr. Ken Mitchell. Barbara is a great person to work with and her dynamic personality made the numerous complex hernias a pleasure to repair.

One particularly memorable patient was a beautiful little six-year-old female with an inguinal hernia. We repaired her problem then found out the her little sister also had a hernia. The next day we repaired the sister's hernia, and the family went home quite content. Of course, there were many family and group pictures taken before their discharge.

We all had a great time and are anxiously waiting for 2001."

Spiritual Care: Marco Diaz, Leon Sanderson, and Hermalindo, the Quiche-speaking evangelist from La Florida, provided the spiritual care for the week. Marco ministered primarily in the courtyard with patients' families and Hermalindo worked in the pre-op room, comforting and praying with patients before surgery. Leon Sanderson led the evening devotionals for the North American staff.

Dr. Castillo provided the necessary follow up and reported that he had seen all the patients within a week of our leaving and all were doing exceptionally well. We give our thanks and praise to God for His allowing us another opportunity to minister in His name to people from whom we gain so much.