DAY 2: SANTO TOMAS
A 30 minute bus ride from San Salvador, the village of Santo Tomas was buzzing by 7:00am when the Dental team arrived for set up. As soon as we had the generators running, our dedicated team of dental professionals had their portable dental units running and drills were buzzing non-stop all day.
Speroway volunteers and team veterans Paul Fox and Steve Rider had their hands full controlling the flow of the crowds between Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and Distribution. Without their guidance, the flow of traffic between departments would be utter chaos. They kept us right on track to be able to leave the site before dark.
As our team has learned, you need to be prepared for almost anything and this trip has been no exception even on our first clinic day. A patient arrived with severe joint pain that made it difficult for him to even stand. Our team of experts quickly diagnosed him with acute Chikungunya. A viral infection spread by mosquitos that causes fever and severe joint pain. After a few hours on IV fluids and some pain medication, our team had him up, walking around and feeling much better. Imagine if we hadn’t been here today, this poor man would have continued to suffer with no help. This kind of story makes all the hard work worth it. To see the before and after of treatment is a rare and rewarding experience.
In our Pharmacy department, people were receiving much needed medications prescribed by the Medical team as well as adult and children’s vitamins. With just over 1,000 patients seen today the lines often reached out to the street. Thanks to the many hands of hardworking volunteers were we able to give every person what they needed and more.
As we prepared to pack up at the end of the day, as often happens, we find Dr. Jack Cottrell squeezing in “just a couple more” patients in his portable dental chair and Dr. Channy Muhn, a Burlington Dermatologist, finishing up a last minute case involving a young girl with a potentially cancerous lesion. Being the artist that he is, he removed the lesion and will leave the girl with barely a scar.
Back at the hotel, we had left a small medical team of Dr. Steve Russell, Dr. Elizabeth Russell, nurse practitioner Rebecca McAlpine and paramedic Glen Canavan. They had been busy all day presenting a Continuing Medical Education training day for local doctors. The focus was on primary care and family practice. Speroway presented our first training day in April of this year and the doctors were anxious and excited that we had returned to share our knowledge and experience with them again.
It was a hot, tiring but rewarding day in Santo Tomas. Tomorrow we are looking forward to another tremendously successful day in the village of San Pablo Tacochico.
stories & pictures submitted by Kristen DeMarco, edited by Speroway.