Apparently November 1-7 is “Global Surgery Week” on Twitter. Though I have never heard of such a thing, I find it somewhat fitting that I am headed off to Belize early tomorrow morning. I will be working with Centura Health’s Global Health Initiative (http://www.centuraglobalhealth.org/) doing general and some pediatric surgery. Unlike Mongolia, this is less of a “teaching” trip and more of a “doing” trip. We have 22 surgeries currently scheduled and I anticipate we will add a few more as the week progresses.
My surgery practice has privileges at many Denver area hospitals. One of those, Littleton Adventist, is a Centura facility. I learned of the Global Health Initiative through a mailing that went to all Centura physicians. After contacting the medical director, Greg Hodgson, I committed to Belize. When the anesthesiologist for the trip fell through, my friend Cynthia Kruger was kind enough to step in and join the trip. It will be her first medical mission and hopefully, we will sell her on doing more!
In the interest of full disclosure, this trip has cost me $800 up front. We also had to work on getting supplies and some equipment. MAP is a program through Ethicon Surgical that supplied us with suture material and mesh for hernia repairs. (http://www.map.org/site/PageServer?pagename=what_Ethicon) Other equipment was a bit more difficult to come by. I have left my dog (ie. my first born!) as collateral for a few items borrowed from some kind friends (who shall remain nameless in order to protect the innocent and encourage further generosity) We have scrounged together enough supplies to get the job done next week, and hopefully leave some things for the next group to use.
I am excited for tomorrow – but for now, one more sleep in my comfortable bed.