HANDING OVER A NEW LEASE ON LIFE
By Mary Dowling and Sylvia Boomsma
The first week of October 2015 brought new hope to a segment of Honduras' population — parents and children who had been told that nothing could be done to correct debilitating hand deformities which might affect not only the present, but also a child's future hope for a normal, independent life.
It all started months beforehand, when I was introduced to two pediatric hand surgeons from Iowa City, Iowa. Drs. Ericka Lawler and Apurva
Shah had heard about SRW medical teams serving in Honduras, and were interested in taking a team also. They gathered their own operating
room staff and we set dates for a mission to Siguatepeque, Honduras, where we would see children from across the country with hand surgical needs. The entire team was from Iowa, with the exception of three veterans from Wisconsin.
Upon our arrival in Siguatepeque, we screened 45 children and identified 30 who would require surgery that week. The team worked well together (even though Iowa beat our football Badgers while we were there!) and all of the patients did well. Since most of the parents had
been told previously that there was nothing that could be done, they were thrilled about their children's brighter prospects, greater function, improved lives, and hopes for a better future.
The mission was such a success that this year's trip is already set. A hand team will return to Honduras on November 4, 2016, to help even
more children from around Honduras with hand surgery issues.
A very grateful thank you to all the medical professionals who made up this team, and to The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) for their support of this mission. They posted our blog daily which was most interesting to follow for those not there.
One aspect of SRW's long relationship with Siguatepeque has been dental education and service, and five dental professionals from Wisconsin traveled with this mission team to continue this ongoing effort. Dr. John Schacherl and his team were able to treat 100 patients, including students of the La Providencia School, and community members. It has been gratifying to see the results of many years' dental care and teaching. Dental service has made a huge difference in this community, through saving diseased teeth, maintaining oral health, and teaching the importance of daily oral hygiene.
Team members were:
Mary Dole-Ritter, RN
Melinda Seering, MD
Paula Woods, SC
Linda Wilson, RN
Lynn Burleson, SC
Judd Lawler, Assistant
Matt Wilson, Assistant
Cindy Haas, CRNA
Ericka Lawler, MD
Apurva Shah, MD
Mary Dowling, RN
Rose Silveira, CRNA
Marge Abegglen, RN
John Schacherl, DDS
Brenda Maxwell, DA
Paul Maxwell, Technician
Denise Jacobsen, RDH
Amber Jacobsen, DA