By Arvind Mohanram, MD, lead anesthesiologist
Yesterday was a day of great anticipation as we successfully completed our first day of surgery! Our team spent the last several months planning and organizing from Denver for this medical mission in Guatemala, a site unknown to us.
Seven children treated
Our team – comprised of nurses, surgical technicians, local staff, ENT surgeons and anesthesiologists – worked as one cohesive unit. We easily maneuvered challenges such as differences in equipment, supplies, medications, communication, flow logistics, and local medical and social culture. By the end of the day, seven children safely received surgical treatment.
One of the more critical patients we treated was a beautiful 7-year-old-girl who had a neck mass that has been growing rapidly over the last year. On her preoperative evaluation, we observed this mass causing compression or shifting of her trachea. This mass was affecting her ability to breathe. Her team (Drs. Phil Tennant, Pam Mudd and Greg Allen and Michelle Flores, RN, and Margaret Luck) easily and skillfully managed her airway and then excised the mass.
Smiles and laughter despite challenges
Despite many challenges, the day passed with relative ease. From our patients to our team and local staff, smiles and laughter dominated the day. I attribute this to our outstanding team composition. Our members have been flexible, understanding, creative, sensitive, and tolerant. Our local hosts have been kind, gracious, and accommodating.
Our patient families have been beyond thankful. I look forward to day two of surgery and beyond.