After experiencing Tacloban, I was somewhat prepared for the larger planned mission in Talavera. But once again, I am moved and amazed. The first day of the mission is called a “screening” day where people come en masse to get assessed, and the surgeons diagnose, schedule, and decide if they are going to be blessed with free medical care from World Surgical Foundation. When I arrived at the screening there was an unprecedented number of people at least 300. And my bleeding heart wants every single patient to be seen and receive the care they so desperately need. We anticipate 150 major operations and 50 to 100 minor procedures. Needless to say this week is going to be hectic and busy, but WSF comes to do as much as possible, and we will.
As the nurses and volunteers were setting up the stock room I stumbled upon something I couldn’t resist writing about. WSF team member, Dr. Chambers, has a daughter who took it upon herself to start a toy drive for the children in Talavera. I was so moved as he told the story to me. Three days before the mission supplies were to be sent in boxes to the hospital, his 10 year old daughter took it upon herself to start a toy drive for the pediatric patients her dad will be working with. This little angel and her friends sent over three large boxes of toys.
It is really incredible that this child did all of this on her own. Having been on a WSF mission before I know what an impact these donations have on the patients going in and coming out of surgery. Because WSF does not bring back the unused supplies and donations. The amount of toys sent will most definitely outnumber the patients, so they will distributed long after we leave. I can’t say with enough emphasis that this 10-year-old girl with a heart of gold collected so many toys we won’t be able to get rid of them all. I believe she will be coming on missions herself very soon.
As far as the next five days go, we are going to provide as much service as 12 hour days will allow. This hospital has been retrofitted for WSF. Three operating rooms were divided into two operating rooms with two beds a piece and one room with three beds. Additionally there are five stations set up for the minor procedures. This gives us a possibility of performing up to 12 surgeries at one time, and with this team I trust we will surpass our expectations.
It is such a blessing to be a part of this mission. I can’t thank Drs. Domingo and Veneranda Alvear enough for creating World Surgical Foundation. Not only for providing medical care in third world countries and donating equipment and supplies, but also teaching local surgeons and anesthesiologists while they work, giving the gift of skills learned over 50 years of medical practice.