Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thank You SO MUCH!

This trip was remarkable and we have so many people to thank for it!
Thank you to all! We could not have done it without you!

Cecilia Peña, Pedro Merida -- La Fundación de Shalom
Dr. Ligia Figueroa, Angeles Muralles -- The Moore Pediatric Surgery Center
Henri Santizo of Agromedica
Dr. Luis Zepeda, Carlos Ruiz, Gerson Cabrerra, Maricarmen Anguiano, and Marcela Figueroa -- Hospital Infantil Juan Pablo II
Lazaro Vasquez, Carmen Grajera -- Hospital Maternidad de Palin
Odra Flores, Anabela Morales, Dr. Nelson Mayen -- Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro
Prof. Carlos Esquit Hernandez and his students -- Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Henry Lima -- Our driver in Guatemala
Clara Chacon -- Antigua community volunteer (and Dr. P.’s awesome Spanish teacher)
Lindsey Moore and Karen Bice -- Project C.U.R.E.
Wilson Adams -- our Teaching Assistant
Dr. Nick Adams -- our professorial co-leader
John Dunbar -- engineer extraordinaire
Prof. Todd Giorgio, Tina Shaw, Amanda King -- VU Department of Biomedical Engineering
Prof. Chris Rowe, Brenda Ellis, Heidi Hall -- VUSE Engineering Communications
Michele Cedzich -- VU School of Engineering
Dean Burgess Mitchell -- VUSE Dean's Office Academic Services
Adam McKeever-Burgett -- VUSE Dean's Office Academic Services
Katherine Cuthbert -- Office of Wellness Programs and Alcohol Education
Michele Cedzich -- VUSE Dean's Office
Eric Sneeden -- Vanderbilt Student Centers
Scott Kominkiewicz -- Office of Admissions
John Lasiter -- Barnes and Noble at Vanderbilt
Jamie Adams -- VU Informtion technology
Phil Vermeulen, Drew Casey -- VU Information Technology
Prof. Ted Fischer, Avery Dickins de Girón --VU Center for Latin American Studies
Dr. Shari Green and Penny Meek -- VU Zerfoss Student Health Center
Dr. Stuart McGrane -- VU Department of Anesthesiology
Jordan Halasz, Dr. Arna Banerjee -- VU Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment
Kathryn Hofeldt -- VU Global Support Services
Sabrina H. Kronk -- VU Finance & Travel

Lastly, We would also like to take a minute and appreciate our dream team, BME Service Learning in Guatemala, Spring 2016:

Dr. Cynthia Paschal
Dr. Nick Adams
Alison Williams
Cassandra Wessely
Claire Lafferty
Fuyao Chen
Jasmine Greer
Joe Hodge
Linus Lee
Lydia McKeithan
Meredith Huszagh
Quinn Weinberg
Ryan Spears
Sami Kopinsky

Thank you so much for such a fruitful and meaningful experience! 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Zip It Up Guatemala

Who says work and fun don't go together? We spent Saturday, our very last day in this beautiful country at the Filadelfia Coffee Resort & Tours and at the Artisian Market. 

At Filadelfia we took a coffee tour, zipped lined, bought souvenirs, and had lunch.



After finishing the coffee tour, we drove up the moutain and prepared to zip line!
The first time for some, the fifth time for others, either way, the excitement was high!
Step 1: suit up
Step 2: get hooked to the cable appropriately
Step 3: Jump and zip the line!

Sami, Dr. P., Ryan, Meredith, and Alison are geared up and ready to go

Professor Adams, Linus, and Joe lean back

Lydia waves to camera, Quinn takes a selfie
Dr. P. zips the line

Sami with open arms

Everybody say Zheese!
We had loads of fun!
Next stop, the Artisian market!
Joanna searches for the perfect gift

 Off to the airport back to Nashville!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Team Vandy Del Valle

Last day of work, we will make it count!
Let's hear from the team about what they did on their final day with the Del Valle students at Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro!!!

Alison and Cristian check continuity
Hey, it's Alison! Today I worked on a Welch Allyn universal charger. After determining that the power cord and fuses were functioning properly, I worked with Cristian and Alex to troubleshoot the circuit inside the device. We isolated the problem as a non-functioning transformer. Then Alex and I called the company that manufactures the transformer as well as Welch Allyn but both told us that they couldn't give us any info about it so we couldn't do anything. The charger will either have to be sent in and repaired or a new one bought. I learned a lot from Alex because he was really familiar with circuit components and good at troubleshooting the circuit.
- Alison

I worked with Matías on blood pressure machines. We took apart 3 machines to test their batteries and found that two were broken. We conducted a series of charging tests and subsequent usage to determine whether the batteries could charge and whether they could hold a charge during use. We replaced the batteries in the two broken units.

Today I spent the day entirely building a bilirubin light for the Palin Maternity Hospital. Alex and Kevin helped me yesterday prepare the LEDs and resistors on the perf board, and today Yucely helped me solder all the components together, after which Kevin and Alex rejoined us to integrate all the components and celebrate in our working phototherapy light. With the time-intensive nature of the project, it would have been so incredibly difficult to complete.
- Ryan

Ryan and three Del Valle students: Ycely, Alex, and Kevin
Ryan is showcasing the bilirubin light!
Way to go Ryan!

Today we worked on an OR table that was having problems with leaky hydraulic fluid. We located the source of the leaks, which was in the controller, but ran into trouble because the controller had square holed screws of which we did not have screwdrivers for. So we traveled all around Antigua with Cecilia looking for this unique screwdriver piece. The hardware store worker finally found one in their scratch pieces, and it just so happened to fit perfectly in the screws the controller had. Once we were able to inspect the inside of the controller, the Del Valle students, Jose Roberto, Luise Jose, and Cristian, and Professor Adams and I were able to come up with a solution. We left the suggestion for fixing the leak with their hospital technician, who was excited to get to fix the problem. In the meantime, we'll look for replacement tubing to fully fix the leak. It was awesome getting to collaborate with the Del Valle students. We had a really fun time working and telling stories, and just having an overall good time.
Lydia, Professor Adams, and Jose work on OR table

Today I worked with Linus, Erick, and Julio on fixing a light source as well as finding a cable for an insufflator. I had a great time getting to know and learn from the Del Valle students and am so glad I had the chance to collaborate with them!

Cassie and Quinn brainstorm about solutions!
Today Quinn and I worked on vital signs monitor with Matias Velasquez and it was great. Unfortunately, we spent a lot of time on the phone with technical support, only to finally be told that it needed a new battery. Before that though, we spent time working through errors that would come up on the screen when we used the screen. It would die every time we inflated 170 mmHg (which was the fault of the weak battery).
-Cassie and Quinn

Sami, Kevin and I worked on two endoscopy light sources. The first one had some mechanical issue in the brightness adjustment switch, but because the model is old and manuals were no longer available, we could not take apart the switch to check throughly. The light source is still functional but only at it's maximum light output. The lamp in the second light source detached from its bracket and caused reduction in light output, with Kevin's help we were able to glue the lamp back into its position and the light source was fully functional. It was such a great experience to work with Kevin and other Del Valle students. They are incredibly knowledgeable and easygoing. I would love to keep in touch with them!
Joe and Monica work on surgical irrigation system
Today I worked on a surgical irrigation system with Mόnica Castellano. We ended up going through the entire machine and isolated a malfunctioning capacitor. We hope to order a replacement and have it working as soon as possible.

I worked with Claire, Erick, and Julio today to try to fix a fiber optic light source and an insufflator. We weren't really able to fix the light source because we didn't have an oscilloscope to look at the voltage but we were able to find the gas connection for the insufflator that we would potentially want to buy, depending on the price. Otherwise, I spent a lot of the day talking with Erick and Julio and learning Guatemalan slang words, which was incredibly fun. Saying goodbye to them later tonight will be really sad because we've gotten to know them well over the course of this week while working together and hanging out together.

Today I worked on two light sources! One light source is fully functional, however, the other light source was a bit more challenging. Upon inspection, this light source had an old fuse and needed a replacement. Unfortunately, I did not have the required fuse, so Celicia, Lydia, Professor Adams, and I walked around town to several electronic/ hardware stores in search of a fuse and various other supplies the team needed. We were fortunate enough to find a small shop that had only one 5 Amp fuse left! Returning back to the hospital, I excitedly replaced the fuse in hopes of restoring functionality. To my dismay, the fuse blew immediately, according to the manual this indicates that the PCBA auxiliary board needs to be replaced. There was nothing more that I could do to fix the light source, however, I was able to find PCBA auxiliary board purchasing information and share it with the hospital administrative staff!
Jasmine checks functionality of light source
My work today was to organize, cheerlead, teach, and counsel, trying to keep 12 Vandy students and about that many students from Universidad del Valle busy. I also got to learn a bit more about circuits from the students and from my colleague Carlos Esquit, professor and head of mechatronics at UVG.
- Dr. P.

 Vandy and Del Valle made such a good team; it is so hard to say goodbye. We look forward to staying in touch with our friends and continuing to build a friendship with Del Valle.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Palin and Agua

First stop, Hospital Nacional de Palin.

Here at the maternity hospital Ryan and two Del Valle students, Alex and Kevin, assembled a light source for babies with Jaudice, while Joe, Linus, Quinn, and Cassie worked on an unstable light stand. 
Ryan and Alex position the LED on the circuit board
Here goes the light... and some fixation

Pumping it up!

Also, Quinn worked on fixing blood pressure cuffs. 
Speaking of which, our special guest blogger, Quinn, will share her experience today.

“My assigned piece of equipment at the Palín Maternity Hospital was a broken blood pressure cuff. I brought a new cuff with a bulb and valve that Project C.U.R.E. in Nashville generously donated to us. The broken cuff at the hospital could fill without a problem but there was a tiny leak that made the pressure drop steadily. Working with Dr. P., I found that the problem was not in the cuff nor the tubing but rather in the bulb. It had been heavily used, and as a result, air was leaking out through the connection to the valve. We quickly fixed the cuff by replacing the old bulb and valve with the new ones from Project C.U.R.E. I checked the functionality of the cuff by taking Dr. P's blood pressure.”
After a long day at the Hospital Nacional de Palin and a bumpy ride back to Antigua, we had lunch at San Martini. Delicioso!
Professor Adams, what a meal!

In the afternoon, we decided to spend the energy gain from lunch on some hiking or running on Cerro La Cruz mountain. Dr. Adams, Lydia, Cassie, and Meredith, our fitness enthusiasts reached the top first, while Dr. P., Alison, Quinn, Sami, and Joanna took a refreshing walk up the hill. The landscape was absolutely breathtaking! The beauty of Antigua city is surrounded by the solemnity of the Agua volcano. The volcano looked so peaceful yet contained so much power, just like our team of Biomedical Engineers!

What a view!

Team Fitness
Some calorie intake seems preferable after exercising up and down the hill. For dinner we went to the Miso Korean restaurant spotted by Linus earlier in the day. We had our first Korean menu lesson from “Professor Linus”, and spent the rest of the time practicing using chopsticks; surprisingly, we all got pretty good at it!

With full bellies, we are ready for work tomorrow at Obras Sociales del Hermano.
Our Del Valle friends will also join us, so we all look forward to a great day!

Professor Linus


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Adios Guatemala City, Hola Antigua!

Amazing Antigua

Engineers are known for math and science but how about poetry? Creativity is not only limited to the liberal arts, but is also applicable to engineering (I am sure that my fellow commodores in Senior Design would agree). Nonetheless, at breakfast we shared our creative side with the reading of our poems.  The topic was how “Pass the Pigs” (a roll-the-dice type game) is a metaphor for BME service.

Busy hands, tools, brains
Hard work but no engagement
Oinkers we collide
-          Dr. P

 It is your turn now.
The cool crisp air caress my hand
The uncertainty floats in the fog
Will I get a razorback? Will I make a difference?
Roll the pig…roll your dice.
-          Jasmine

On our final day at the Moore Center we continued to work on our instructable videos.
Let’s hear some words from our team leaders Meredith, Ryan and Lydia about how their video production went!

Last day at the Moore Center
Meredith updates us, “Today at the Moore Center, the video team working with the non-invasive blood pressure (NIBP) machines finished capturing video footage for their instructional video. Videographer Sami recorded video while Alison, Claire, and I described and demonstrated how to check for leaky tubing and calibrate NIBP machines. After completing this phase of the video development, I started placing and editing clips into a coherent story timeline while Claire and Alison began preliminary work on writing the script for the voice-overs to accompany the team's video clips. The group's next immediate steps will focus on detailing out the script and integrating the video clips into a cohesive video.”

Farewell Anesthesia Machine! 
Ryan, Joanna, Cassie and Joe, were working on Anesthesia Gas Mixing and Delivery videos. Ryan shared, “Today, our main objective was to progress far enough in the video editing and scriptwriting processes to identify any gaps in our story. We only needed to collect a few additional videos and replace a couple, and by the end of our time at the Moore Center, we had collected all the clips we could there, had the clips ordered, and had an outline for the script.”
Hey! Look at my oxygen saturation!
Lydia, Linus, Jasmine and Quinn were working on Anesthesia Ventilation videos. Lydia said, "Today, Luise Jose and Eminio (very unsure of these spellings) were so gracious to travel back to the Moore Center to help our team finish our video on Anesthesia Ventilation and Monitoring Systems. After going over our first round of clips and experiencing some trial and error, our team was able to learn a lot about best film shooting practices, and Jasmine and I (Lydia) were able to catch some great clips of the Del Valle students demonstrating the function and repair of the Anesthesia systems. We’re looking forward to putting the video together these next few weeks. With Linus’s great script writing skills and Quinn’s awesome editing skills, after translating and recording everything in Spanish, I think we’ll have a great product, which hopefully will be very useful for our friends in Guatemala whenever they run into trouble with Anesthesia Ventilation further on down the road.

After wrapping up everything, we loaded up the truck and got comfortable. Last day in Guatemala City, Last day at the Moore Center; we had a great time but Adios, Guatemala City and Hola, Antigua.  

Hola Antigua!

Work hard, play hard!
After arriving to Antigua we went to Chocomuseo and made chocolate together!
Pictures can speak louder than words...

Fingerlicken good!

Making chocolate requires several steps but we all needed to stir!

At least you didn't spill all of it

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Anything is Possible At Juan Pablo

Who says chivalry is dead?

Early birds catch the worm! Today we beat the traffic and arrived to the Hospital Infantil de Juan Pablo II earlier than expected, ready for action! We were soon joined by more students from La Universidad Del Valle: Darwin, Monica, Andrea, Julio, Ennio, Alex, Christian, Yucely, Matias and Erick!

In the surgical room, Linus partnered with Christian, and Joanna paired with Darwin to work on the vacuum machines; Both groups managed to put the vacuums back into work.
Meredith and Lydia focused the day to get the lab microscope into focus! Unfortunately, they were not able to restore the automatic focusing feature after switching the objectives. Nonetheless, they figured out that alternating between oil and water-immersion objectives might cause this trouble, so hopefully it will be solved very soon.

Matias gets his blood pressure read

Bright smiles with blood pressure monitor

Cassie and Quinn formed a power group with Christian, Andrea, and Matias to calibrate the blood pressure monitor. Matias, who is healthy as a horse, constantly got a lower reading on his systolic pressure. The hospital technician, Señor Carlos, saved the team by bringing them essential calibration components. Matias finally got his healthy blood pressure reading!
VU in the gasket with Del Valle

Joe 'operating' on the gasket

Another instrument that was worked on today was one of the hospital's autoclaves. Dr. P had identified a worn gasket on her prior trip, so we came prepared with a replacement gasket and epoxy. The manufacturer of this autoclave discontinued this model, so Claire, Joe, and Linus worked alongside Erick and Julio to fit another brand's replacement gasket. This was accomplished by trimming it to the correct length and dimensions. Now we will just wait to see if the seal will hold in 24 hours, after the epoxy sets!

Team troubleshooting on the autoclave with Dr. P. 
Similarly, Alison and Ennio focused on fixing a different autoclave! With assistance from Dr. P and after several hours of investigating they were able to determine the problem with the temperature gauge. Unfortunately, the necessary part to completely fix the gauge was not readily available, further research needs to be carried out to solidify a diagnosis.
Ryan, Monica and Professor Adams worked on fixing a malfunctional microscope. The stage of the microscope was loose and had only unidirectional movement, as opposed to bidirectional movement. With meticulously hard work he was able to restore the proper function of the microscope.
In addition to working on her instructional anesthesia ventilation video, Lydia teamed with Alex to change light bulbs and filters on a laminar flow hood. Maintenance is essential to a healthy instrument!
Jasmine was assigned to fix two cracked EEG recorder pens that were held together only by tape. Unfortunately replacing the recorder pens was not an option, however, with a hot glue gun, a soldering iron and help from Darwin, they managed to seamlessly restore the recorder pens!
Upon asking Darwin about his volunteering experience, he shared, “All of you are very friendly. Good experience because my career does not have a lot of work in the hospital. The work you do here is different from what I do in my career.”

Sami, Yucely, Andrea, Erick and Julio rebuild the broken break!

Today’s Special Guest Blogger is Sami:

“Today I was assigned to fix a Zeiss S21 microscope stand with a broken foot brake. While it was fun and exciting to work together on the machine, we definitely had quite a few hurdles along the road. First we had to carefully maneuver the stand with microscope attached out of the OR by wrapping the microscope in blankets and scotch tape for protection. Next, we attempted to fix the broken foot brake by taking the stand apart, only to realize we could fix it by simply realigning one of the metal pieces without having to remove anything at all. Now, with our heightened confidence, we decided to try and mend the second foot brake, which was not broken, but was not functioning perfectly either. In the process of trying to improve the functionality, we actually broke it! We thought it may be as easy to fix as the first brake, but instead this created the real challenge of the day, and we spent hours brainstorming different ideas for how to fix it. In the end, we consulted a very knowledgeable mechanic who works at the hospital and helped us bend the metal brake in a strategic manner, ultimately allowing us to restore and improve the functionality of both foot brakes on the microscope stand.”

Special thank you to the staff of Hospital Infantil de Juan Pablo II:

Señorita Maricarmon Anguiano, Administrator

Señorita Mareela Figueroa, Assistant Administrator

Doctor Luis Arnoldo Zepeda, Hospital Director

Señor Carlos Ruiz, Hospital Technician

Señor Gersor Cabrerra , Hospital Technician

Doctor Lopez, Chief of Surgery


The pizza is as long as our table!