Day 3 – The First Day of Clinic
Our day began very early with the devotion at 5:30 followed by a breakfast buffet and then onto the buses for a 7:00 departure.
Jason read scriptures from Psalm 41 verses 1-4 and 12 -13. Everyone was eager to get to the clinic and start seeing patients. As we read these verses, we made special note of all the adjectives used to describe God’s protection, care and guidance for his people. Once again, we see emphasis placed on the poor and the sick. Throughout the Bible God calls us to care for those who cannot care for themselves. I pray that each of us today will allow God to open our eyes and hearts to see the needs of each person that comes into the clinic and as Jason mentioned in his devotional, that we will witness the many adjectives in our morning scriptures at work.
We arrived at the clinic around 7:35. The line, or more accurately described, the lines of people had obviously been growing since before sunrise. I am always amazed at all the smiles I see, despite the long lines, the heat or their illnesses. The Guatemalans appear to be happy and always extremely grateful.
Once each department was settled and personal items stored, the team gathered in a big circle and Jason opened us with prayer.
Tagni, our Village Medical Clinic Program Coordinator, took charge at the gate and began ushering in the patients giving them specific directions depending on their needs. All patients start at the sign-in table where the Red Hat volunteers help fill in their registration forms and direct them to one of our triage stations. The triage stations are manned by providers and translators who spend several minutes with each patient discussing their needs and making sure they are seen in the correct department; general medicine, pediatrics, OBGYN, orthopedics, dental, VIA Cryo, audiology or mobility. The morning ran smoothly, and the patients were checked in and sent to the appropriate areas very quickly.
Throughout the day we saw and heard many heart touching stories. One young girl, 13-year-old Hannah came to the audio clinic hoping to be able to hear again. Hannah’s mother explained that she had suffered some form of an ear/throat infection over three years ago, which had caused her to lose her hearing. She was successfully fitted with a hearing aid and left with the priceless gift of being able to hear again.
One of the programs that Faith In Practice can offer in our Village clinics through our Woman’s Health department is the VIA Cryo screening. This clinic can truly be life changing, life or death, for the hundreds of women who receive this screening and when needed, treatment. In the United States for every 1 woman that dies from cervical cancer, 8 women die in Guatemala. Early detection of cervical cancer is vital. In the U.S. women have easy access to annual gynecological visits and therefore have a much greater advantage in surviving this cancer.
Today we had a 63-year-old woman diagnosed with cervical cancer. This woman had never had a pap smear and as a result, the cancer was not detected in its early stage. She was accompanied by her 31-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old granddaughter. These three women live by themselves with no extended support system. The daughter visited our VIA Cryo clinic before leaving with her mother and the doctor was able to reassure her that she was fine and there was no sign of cervical cancer present. This was such a sad case, one with no real hope for a good outcome for the patient. The only bright side to this story was the education and screening that we were able to offer her daughter. Education is such a key element to prevention and early detection. It is very likely that this patient did not know about the importance of screening. Faith In Practice’s VIA Cryo clinic offers “see and treat” on the same visit. The patient does not need to return to the clinic for results nor does she need to schedule an additional appointment for treatment. Transportation can be a very limiting hurdle for many. This family traveled over 5 hours by bus to reach our clinic. Our prayers will be with this family as they walk through their journey with cervical cancer.
The last patient was seen around 4:15. The buses were loaded and we were on the road by 5:00. It was another beautiful day in Guatemala, and a busy day in the clinic.
Our daily total 452
General Medicine department 115 patients
Pediatrics department 47 patients
OBGYN department 40 patients
Audiology department 40 patients
14 ear washes,
18 hearing aid fittings
Orthopedic department - 20 patients
12 knee injections
Dental department - 46 patients
VIA Cryo department - 54
Referrals for surgery - 90