Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MACLA Medical Mission Part 4

PCV's from left to right: Dana, Jose, Paul, Ashley, Norma, Dustin

After another day in pre-op, it was finally my turn to put on foot, hair, and mouth covers and go back to the area where the doctors were actually operating. The first surgery I sat in on was of a little girl with two fingers that had grown together who was having them surgically separated. I piece of skin was removed from her belly and sewn to the sides of the fingers that had grown fused together.

During the procedure, Dominican staff and Americans exchanged conversation through me about the technical minutia surrounding things like LMA’s versus breathing tubes, oxygen saturation in the blood, and so on. I was glad that medicine names are usually easily understood in both languages and that most anatomical words share the same Latin or Greek root in both English and Spanish.

I continued to translate throughout the morning until finally Matt, a surgeon in his sixth year of residency in Chicago told me he was going to let me assist in an actual surgery! Encouraged by the fortitude I had shown thus far, I decided to face a long-standing fear I have of blood and gore and join him in the operating room. After thoroughly sterilizing my hands and forearms and donning latex gloves and a paper gown, I took my place facing Matt, standing over an anesthetized man in his 20s or 30s with a cleft palate.

Dana, Matt, me

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