Mission trip to Guatemala was life changing for nurse as well as patients
I knew my trip to Guatemala would be amazing, but I didn’t know how life changing it would end up being! This February, I was a part of a team of medical professionals from AAMC who traveled with the organization HELPS International to provide free medical care and necessary surgeries to children and adults in Tecpan, Guatemala.
As we arrived in Tecpan, I was amazed at the hundreds of adults and children that were standing outside awaiting our arrival. We later found out that these people had been waiting for days and had been sleeping outside the hospital gates at night just to have a chance to receive needed medical care. When our bus drove up to the hospital the people were clapping, cheering, and crying — it was heartbreaking and so humbling, realizing that we were these people’s only hope for a changed and better life.
I was able to work in the PACU and recover patients after their surgeries. Because of my Pediatric background, I worked mostly with the children. My first patient was a 3 year-old boy that had a cleft lip and cleft palate repair. His mother told me she waited outside for three days and nights just so her son could have surgery. She would not stop thanking me, and showering me with blessings for helping her son have a chance at a better life. She called us her angels. What a great reminder to us of how blessed we are as Americans!
Throughout our seven days in Tecpan we were able to provide almost 300 surgeries and 1,500 clinic visits. We repaired clubbed feet, cleft lips and palates, hernias, strabismus, deformities, and removed tumors. It was amazing to be a part of such a generous and selfless team, and I am so thankful to have had this opportunity.
It was also so encouraging to have the support of my fellow AAMC employees. Thanks to all that donated items for our AAMC Bake Sale and Fundraiser in January. Your support and donations truly made a difference in the lives of hundreds of precious Guatemalan people. -Jen Reynolds, RN
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