Health Care Public Health

Familiar Faces, Extending Hope

A nurse administers a vaccine to a patient at a community vaccination event

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For the first day of our mission, we set up our clinic at the Centro Escolar Angela Scorsonelli, a grade school in Canton El Escobal, in the Municipio de Dan Luis La Herradura. When we arrived at 8:30 am, more than 150 people were already waiting in line.

The triage team immediately set to work, giving patients bands with ID numbers and taking vital signs. They moved elderly patients up to the front of the line and turned chaos into order in a matter of minutes.

At 4 pm, when we began to close the clinic, we had treated 398 patients. Nearly half of those were children. We treated all of the students from the school, as well as those from another nearby school, plus their families.

We have a team of medical students serving as translators for us from the Universidad Catolica de El Salvador. They traveled two and a half hours to get here and will be helping us translate all week. It's been wonderful for our providers to experience the support of medical translators.

At each site this week, Michael Thiede from our team is working to complete some painting projects (he's also supporting triage and can translate, too). At this school, he gave an exterior wall a fresh coat of paint with the help of our bus driver and two of our host's crew members. When the project was complete, we asked Amanda Travers, one of our triage leads, to sign the wall with #AMITAmission19.

Because we were at this site last year, we have seen some familiar faces. During our last visit, Dr. Dave de Ramos cared for a 23-year-old patient who came to the clinic with her mother. She wouldn't answer any questions the doctor asked. Her mother explained that she had uncontrollable seizures. The girl was emotionless and sat with her head down, hopeless.

The patient returned this year and she was seen by Dr. Kelley Dilliard, a second-year resident with the Family Medicine Residency Program at Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale. The patient told Dilliard that the medicine worked and her seizures were controlled. However, when she went to the local government medication dispensary, they could not get the medicine, and unfortunately she didn't follow up with our local physician partner.

Happily, the patient recognized Dr. de Ramos. He made sure that she received the same medicine and he spoke with our local host, Maritza Frieser, to ensure that follow-up care was provided. The patient hugged her and started to cry. "She was more animated and happy," he said. "She was so forlorn and now she has hope."

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