Author: Ray Williams
Photographer: Ed Shapoff
Readers of these blogs may be saying to yourself, I wonder how all of these people become patients of Faith In Practice, how are they identified as a candidate for surgery and where do they come from. Well, this writer started asking the same questions so I asked Maria, the Faith In Practice Surgery Program Coordinator at Obras Hospital in Antigua. I learned that there are 23 "Departments" or States as we call them, in Guatemala. Each Department has of course cities, towns and pueblos (communities). Faith In Practice has numerous leaders that work part time for Faith In Practice and they are the first point of contact for potential patients that could become candidates for surgery. The leaders are known among the people in their towns and pueblos so they are contacted by individuals or family members of individuals who need medical care, possible surgery.
Faith In Practice also deploys many "Village Teams" which are made up of American medical providers that go to Guatemala and travel throughout the countryside and hold medical clinics where they provide primary care and medical consultation for the local people of that area. The leaders make sure that the potential patients from their areas get to the locations of the Faith In Practice Village Teams so that they can be screened and triaged into the schedule for the next possible Faith In Practice surgery team coming to Antigua. Of course, the surgery team will have to have a surgeon specialist appropriate for the patients that the Village Team identifies. This requires great communication and coordination between the leaders, Village Team corrdinators and the Faith In Practice staff at the Hospital so that the right patients get scheduled when the right surgeon specialist will be in an upcoming surgery team. When this happens,often the leader will accompany a patient with the patient's family to Antigua for the surgery.
A good example of this happened today with Sandi, a 23-year-old young lady who has been what we would commonly call, "tongue tied" since birth thereby making it difficult for her to speak normally. She and her mother and the leader from her area, Patricia, brought her to see Dr. Scott, the plastic surgeon on the team. They arrived in Antigua on Wednesday of last week and were seen by a hospital doctor to make sure she was healthy and all pre-op testing could get done. Everything was fine so she underwent surgery today. Hopefully she will be able to talk normally after her short recovery.