by Pam Mudd, MD, chief resident
What an amazing experience Operation Quetzal (the name of the money in Guatemala) has been, with everything running smoothly down in Guatemala City! The team here is incredible. It has been quite an experience for the groups normally working together in and out of the normal operating days to truly function as a team.
We have PACU nurses placing IVs and scrub techs aiding in intubations. Dr. Mohanram (anesthesiology) even attempted to scrub an ear case today! This type of team work will continue as we head back to Children’s Hospital Colorado with a new perspective on the work that goes into each piece of the peri-operative team.
Smooth surgeries, grateful families
The operative cases have been flowing smoothly and on Wednesday we successfully aided two children with multiple failed cleft palate repairs to improve speech and closed a beautiful 5-month-old baby girl’s cleft lip. The gratefulness of the families and patients is beyond compare. The patients themselves are so strong!
The culture of Guatemala does not support the use of narcotics in patients in the post-operative period for multiple reasons- but we have seen our patients do well with Tylenol alone and they are smiling and drinking, blessing us, and thanking us all. There is also a cultural belief here that the tonsils can cause many ailments from headache to bone pain to cold hands! We have signed up about 17 tonsils +/- adenoids for this week (for real indications of course).
Teaching and training local medical residents
The teams of MDs were able to meet Wednesday evening with the pediatric residency program at the local children’s hospital to teach some of our specialty training and to learn about some of the differences in management which is so helpful for us to help the understanding to manage our patients here.
Assistance from the community and beyond
The patients we are working with here have no means to receive health care and are traveling hours to be seen in our clinic for operations. There are so many groups donating to make our efforts possible with private radiology groups doing CT scans on the same day for less than $20, discounted medications, rushed pathology, and Ronald McDonald house supporting our families that are not safe to travel hours away!
Beyond this there are so many local volunteers that have come to help the Shalom Foundation and the Moore Center for Pediatric Surgery. We have plenty of volunteer students helping us with translation and aiding the patients and the parents in the peri-operative time. Even lunch for the volunteers, medical team, and support staff has been donated by a local restaurant (which is fantastic!). We are blessed in so many ways. I speak on behalf of the entire group when I say that we feel so privileged to be here in Guatemala City serving this population of patients who are in such need!
More surgeries await
I must sign off now as I have to rest – 15 surgeries on the schedule Thursday with two large neck and facial masses, a bilateral cleft palate, an obstructed nose, an open ear, and many obstructed airways to attend to!
Thank you all for your support of Children’s Colorado’s global health initiative and the team here at Shalom Foundation and their Moore Center for Pediatric Surgery!
We welcome your prayers, thoughts, and questions!