Health Care Public Health

Final Day: Grateful Hearts, Theirs and Ours

A group of physicians, nurses, and others in a group circle

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Friday marked our last clinic day of the week. It seems impossible that a week has already gone by. Our team started the week as strangers and now we are like family.

We set up our final clinic at Centro Escolar Caserío El Mozote in San Luis La Herradura. This was a small school in a very poor area that we also visited last year. It's the population we've seen with the most need. When we pulled up, there was a line of people waiting for us. Some of the children were barefoot, and we saw many, many people who were dehydrated.

We'd planned to run the clinic on a shortened schedule, but we still saw 293 patients at this site. In total after today, we saw a total of 1,843 patients during the past week.

Dr. David Bordo treated a woman who was brought to the clinic by her neighbor. She was almost delirious due to extreme dehydration. With Berenice Carlson translating, they asked the woman if she had access to water. She said she did have access, but it costs money and she doesn't have any money. Her neighbors take turns bringing her food and water, she said.

"We gave her one of our water bottles and had her drink one and then we filled it up again," Bordo said. "We talked to her about drinking three or four bottlefuls a day and why it was important."

Karen Munter spent all week working in the pharmacy. For much of that time, the pharmacy team was cloistered in a room surrounded by bags of medications and supplies. The pharmacists would work all day long filling orders.

On the last day of the clinic, the pharmacy was all caught up with their orders, and so they were able to step outside of their pharmacy room and see the patients outside whom they had been serving.

"It was great to get out of our building and see the patients," Munter said. "We came out and people were waving to us and saying thank you. It was the perfect way to end the week."

The next morning, we set up a clinic in the lobby of our hotel for the hotel staff and their families. It was nice to take care of the people who have cared for us this week. Many of them had the same concerns as those we saw earlier in the week — rashes, allergies, colds, infections, etc. One staffer had a wrist that hurt. The doctors talked to her about carpal tunnel syndrome and showed her how to wrap and care for it.

"This has been an unbelievably fulfilling experience with an amazing group of people that I now consider family," Bordo said. "I can't wait to do it again."

This is the last post of our mission trip. We want to extend special thanks to our families and colleagues, who have supported us at home and work, so we could participate in this mission trip, and to everyone who sent prayers and words of encouragement via social media over the last week. Thank you!

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