Honduras: Day One

Source: Blog Post

Today was our very first day at the hospital. We were driven to Ruth Paz around 7:30 AM, arriving as a team, wearing our blue THP polos so that we were recognizable as the THP medical staff. When we arrived at the hospital, there was already a large line of people waiting for us. The waiting rooms were full, and the patients looked hopeful.

After unloading all of our supplies, we were given a quick tour of Ruth Paz by Peggy, our local contact who is extremely helpful and valuable to us at Ruth Paz. The hospital has two ORs on the second floor, both of which have two tables inside each. This is something we're not used to, but everyone is learning to adapt while we are here. After getting a feel for the ORs and the hospital layout, we had a quick team meeting to discuss the strategy for the day.

After our quick meeting, we were ready to begin seeing patients. Drs. Chhabra, Lauder and Ekstein were stationed in one area for peds, Dr. Elzik was in one exam room, Drs. Weiland and Boatright were in a second exam room, the anesthesia team (Drs. Grant, Gordon and Lee) and our RN, Dorothy, were set up across the room from peds, Jennie (our hand therapist) has a space in the back of the room, and Dr. Leversedge was floating throughout the day.

The day went quickly, and we saw some memorable patients.

13-year-old Christopher was patiently waiting his turn for the first half of the day. He bounced back and forth between the anesthesia team and the pediatric team for hours, making conversation, taking photos with us, and friending Dorothy on Facebook :-). Christopher was involved in a firecracker accident in January. His thumb and the tip of his index finger were amputated. He now has phantom pain in the thumb and has pain in his middle finger, which he cannot bend, making it hard for him to use his hand. The team plans to perform surgery to release some of the contracture.

Halfway through the day we were joined by Dr. Duretti Fufa, who began evaluating the brachial plexus patients as soon as she arrived at Ruth Paz.

After a long day, we were able to evaluate every patient who came to Ruth Paz today. While our surgery schedule is mostly filled for the week, we still have some space. Because of the rain in San Pedro Sula today, we did not see as many patients as previous trips. We are anticipating that some patients will arrive tomorrow, which means we will need to be flexible with our schedules.

Around 4 PM we went straight from Ruth Paz to a local boys orphanage for a visit. Keeping with THP tradition, we played a soccer match with the boys and brought them matching t-shirts! We had a blast visiting the boys and were happy to see that they were healthy and happy.

After our visit, some team members expressed interest in doing more for the boys. We may arrange to have toys or clothes sent to them later in the week.

Overall, our second day of this mission was a successful one. We were amazed by how gracious the patients were, how trusting they are, and by their positive attitudes. Some of these patients have suffered a great deal and been through traumatizing incidents, but they still wake up every day ready to take on new challenges. We are excited to do what we can to make their lives better.

Check for more updates throughout the week!