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Surgery in a Suitcase

September 2017 Surgery Trip

We’ve said this before, but it’s so true–surgery in a suitcase! Unimaginable, but it is becoming a routine for our team! Although “routine” is still pretty remarkable, due to the planning and preparation the team has to do prior to arriving to this little remote town in the south of Haiti called Bainet. Shirley, our fearless surgery team leader, pours hours into the trip preparation to recruit the right set of people with the right skills. Team members must have the mental agility to make the switch from working in a top notch hospital operating room in the US to a little room with unreliable electricity and a small window unit for air conditioning that could go out anytime. Yet, for seven surgery trips now we have been able to execute and have been blessed with no complications. Please pray for us so that we continue to never have complications.
Today (Day 1) at 8:54 am the first incision was made (I’ll spare you the details of the procedure). We already have 5 major cases lined up for today and a big one tomorrow morning (first thing–a big abdominal mass). The surgeon (Dr. Jones accompanied with his son Carter) this trip who is an anesthesiologist told me so far the cases he’s screened are the most difficult ones he’s seen to date.
By the time Thursday comes around we will have performed 35 surgeries! Thirty-five is the maximum number we can perform, due to supplies and the length of the trip. Also, by then the team is worn out, and safety is our first concern.
The surgical team is made up of 9 people and five of them are in Haiti with us for the first time. We had people come from Colorado, California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina! I did notice the smiles got bigger this morning because the newbies told me once they put on their scrubs all is well in the world, because they are and will be in their element. In an operating room, they are at home. They are confident, and they execute with passion and excellence!
All of this work would not happen if it weren’t for you who support us. You also support your loved ones and provide the support at home so they can come and serve this beautiful community. Thank you so much!
Please pray for us! I’ve gotten updates about Hurricane Maria from our medical director back in the states. As I write this note, Maria is the last thing on our minds because there is a patient on the operating table, and the team’s focus is on that patient!
We are praying that the team can finish up and return home safely!
Elade