Honduras: Day 6

Source: Blog Post

Friday was very bittersweet here in Honduras. This has been an incredible week and we were all sorry to see it winding down. We did some great and challenging cases on our last day, including more machete injuries, congenital cases, and severe infections. Rather than writing up again about all the incredible cases that we did, I want to acknowledge the incredible team members who were the unsung heroes of the trip.

Jane Tuohy, who is the Senior Director for Medical Education at Stryker, has worn many hats during this trip.  Even though she has been in the medical industry forever, she didn't realize that on this trip she would do everything from assist in the operating room to help cast patients to serve as an intraoperative photographer to organize our packing at the end of the week. She adapted to whatever was needed to help take care of the patients and the team. Her support and that of Stryker have been critical in supporting this mission. 

Kelly Godwin is a CHT who joined us all the way from Hawaii. Even more impressive is that she did it right after finishing the Boston Marathon.  She was certainly challenged on this trip, with a good number of the 130 patients we screened on the first day needing to see her. It was incredible that she managed to get through all the patients we sent her way with a smile. The rest of the week, since she was on the ward making splints and setting up rehab plans, she took it upon herself to become the discharge coordinator for all of our patients. She made sure that everyone's postop plans were clear, that they got whatever splint they needed, and she even figured out where in town people can get free hand therapy to continue the great work that she started. She brought with her Spanish rehab protocols (even though she didn't speak Spanish prior to the trip) so that patients would have a handout of what they were supposed to do.

Kelly Boyd is a RN from Duke whose primary role this week was to help Neeraj Mehta, our Anesthesiologist, with the many regional blocks per day that were needed to anesthetize her patients.  However she was often everywhere, pulling Foley catheters and IV's on the ward, putting in difficult pediatric IV's, helping to unpack and pack up all of our equipment, and encouraging us to wind down at the end of the day.

Last, but certainly not least, is Garvey Jonaissant, RN. He was the glue that kept the team together in the operating room. He was everybody's right-hand man, which was impressive considering that we had 13 other team members. He made sure that we had all of the equipment for every case, and rolled with the punches when power outages broke one of the two autoclaves that we used to sterilize equipment. Even though we did so many cases, including many similar ones that need it the same equipment and supplies over and over, we never were lacking what we needed. It was the familiar cry of "GARVEY..." (which came from all six surgeons every 15 seconds) that sprung him into action. He basically was the circulating nurse for four simultaneous cases, and did it without ever being flustered or losing a smile. 

These incredible people and the rest of our team, with the stellar staff at El Hospital Para Niños Quemados y Cirugía Pediátrica Ruth Paz, and our gracious local hosts Jesus (Chuy) and Gisselle Canahuati, helped to improve the lives of not only our patients, but also of each other. Thank you!