Today was sadly our last day of work in Guatemala. We returned to Hermano Pedro Hospital for the second day to wrap up our projects and leave the hospital with repaired equipment or recommendations for proper use or subsequent repair.
Amongst our early-morning progress in the hospital, we began nervously checking our watches. The collective mumblings and concerns asked, “Where is Pablo? He said he’d be here half an hour ago…” In casually dramatic fashion, Pablo graces us with his presence and relieves our concerns. Not only did he have the dozens of pounds of coffee we ordered, he also explained his tardiness – Pablo had printed custom Vanderbilt labels on our coffee bags! Giddy and appreciative, we found our bags and deeply breathed in the aroma of recently ground Guatemalan coffee beans.
Our senses saturated, we returned to work for the afternoon. Lowell and Danny put their brawn to work by fixing adjustable joints on a C-arm used to take X-Rays in the operating room. Evan revived a VERY dead computer by installing a new power source and brought the unit to full working condition. Mallette cleaned a surgical headlamp and later found a way to connect the gas anesthesia to a computer monitor, allowing for safer surgeries.
Becca and Liz investigate the source
of the unstable operating table
Surgeon Juan Jose and Anesthesiologist
Corey observe the ECG on Cat
Britney and Laynie worked on a set of anesthesia vaporizers which they determined to be beyond repair. Later in the afternoon, they joined Becca and Liz who were conquering a difficult project of steadying an operating room table which was prone to shifting mid-surgery. This project also recruited the help of Laura after she placed orders for batteries for a blood pressure monitor and Erica after she worked on a pulse oximeter. Cat worked with Corey on an operating room electrocardiogram in the morning before working on an ESU foot pedal with Britney in the afternoon.
Our team with Jorge (top left), Juan Jose (top middle), and Pablo (bottom right)
With all our projects wrapped-up, we packed up our supplies and prepared to report our work to Odra, our coordinator at the hospital. Odra was extremely appreciative for the information we provided and the work we accomplished. Even when Evan proclaimed, “I fixed it!” while holding up a gutted power source with dozens of colorful wires hanging out, Odra sweetly said, “Thank you” and flashed a kind smile. Later, we were all humbled by the gift of a diploma from the hospital with a picture of our group, our name, and nice words of gratitude. Leaving the hospital, we had to offer more warm farewells to our wonderful drivers/translators Jorge and Pablo and our third translator Juan Jose.
In the evening, we debriefed our projects and had a relaxing night-in with games hosted by our “People Wrangler,” Cat. We were all tired from the week of work and looking to save energy for our ascent of the Pacaya volcano the next day!
(Spoiler alert – we all survived the hike and flights to Nashville)