Partner for Surgery

Partner for Surgery was founded in 2001 to serve as a bridge between patients in need of major health and surgical care in remote communities and the international volunteer triage and surgical teams that come to Guatemala to help the impoverished; and to educate and empower rural Guatemalans to initiate and advocate for vital health care services on their own behalf.
Jun 29, 2015

Otter Tail Missions tells their story

Doctor with patient
Doctor with patient

Dear Kind Supporters,

Here's a report from the field, from one of our wonderful volunteer medical teams, Otter Tail Missions: 

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We brought a team of 21 to Guatemala City, over 60% of whom were new to this mission. Many were taking their first trip abroad - members hailed from Des Moines, Los Angeles, Seattle and as far away as Denmark. The team all met for the first time in Guatemala.   

The need for general surgery in Guatemala is great. When we were coming, we told them we could handle about 100 patients. When we got there, about 160 patients were waiting for us. 

We evaluated over 140 patients and felt that 129 required surgery. That was 30% more than we had budgeted for, but the team all agreed to make every effort to help as many as possible. By the end of a grueling week of 11-12 hour days, we had performed 147 procedures on 129 patients, including laparoscopic gallbladder surgeries and a large number of hernias. 

One of the patients we treated had suffered for 7 years from a mismanaged hernia. I wish you could receive all the gratitude that he showed us. Many people had been unable to work because of hernias and had no hope of getting the surgery without our help. Most patients travel an hour or more by foot and then as much as 12 hours by bus to come to us. After surgery, they stay a couple days in a shelter before heading back by the same route.

We were stretched this year to meet the needs before us, and the team rose to the occasion.

We could not have done this without the support of our donors, both Global Giving and elsewhere. The people of Guatemala thank you, and we thank you, for your wonderful support. 

Nurse with patient
Nurse with patient
Patients in recovery
Patients in recovery
Patient walking after surgery
Patient walking after surgery
Jun 29, 2015

Leonel

Leonel at birth
Leonel at birth

Partner for Surgery's Infant Nutrition Program for infants born with a cleft lip and palate has been in place for just over five years. Because our program locates infants at birth or very soon thereafter, mothers receive lactation coaching, breast pumps and nutritional guidance while they can still produce milk. For mothers unable to nurse, commercial formula is provided. The story below of Leonel is a wonderful example of a life that was saved in the early days of the program, and an example of how this child can now be of help to the family and live a normal life.

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Leonel was born in 2009 with cleft lip and palate to Roselia and Baten, both first time parents at age 17. They were confused and scared and did not know what to do about their son’s condition. All they knew was that they had no money to pay for treatment. Fortunately, the midwife who attended Leonel’s birth knew about Partner for Surgery through the local Health Center. A health promoter was assigned to Leonel and his family to support their journey, beginning with enrollment in the nutrition program.

Leonel did so well in the nutrition program that he was healthy enough to undergo surgery to repair his cleft lip at 5 months. At 18 months, he was ready for cleft palate surgery.

And look at him today at age 5! Thanks to early intervention by Partner for Surgery, he is healthy, strong and quite handsome! He takes great pride in working with his grandfather in the fields, so he can help feed the family. 

Leonel’s mother Roselia is very grateful to Partner for Surgery for saving her son’s life and helping her when she so desperately needed it. “Thank you for your help!”

Leonel at age 1
Leonel at age 1
Leonel at age 2
Leonel at age 2
Leonel at age 5
Leonel at age 5
Apr 24, 2015

Gregorio

Gregorio when first seen
Gregorio when first seen

Miguel Gregorio, age 11, is one of nine siblings. His mother, Doña, works on a farm.

A few years ago, Gregorio was injured in a terrible accident. A bucket of paint thinner was accidentally ignited in the yard outside his home. In the rushed effort to extinguish the flames, the bucket was kicked over and the burning liquid splashed all over Gregorio’s face, neck, and chest. No one was quite sure how to put the fire out. First they tossed a bowl of water on him, but that only exacerbated the flames. Eventually dirt and sand were used and the flames were doused. By then Gregorio had suffered extensive third degree burns.  

Doña took Gregorio to the closest health center. Because of the severity of his injuries, the center referred Gregorio to the regional hospital, where he spent 4 days in intensive care.

When Gregorio returned home, he found that his life had changed. Gregorio was teased and discriminated against both in school and on the street because of the large, raised scars on his face and neck. He often cried and wondered why such a terrible thing had happened to him. His mother always comforted him by telling him that someday he would receive surgery to repair the scarring.

Finally, Doña’s promise came to be. Gregorio was seen during a Partner for Surgery mobile medical mission in September of 2014. During the visit, surgery was scheduled to repair the extensive scarring.

The day before surgery Gregorio was very excited because he had been waiting for such a long time.

Gregorio and his family are very grateful for the help made possible by Partner for Surgery’s supporters. Thanks to you, his life has been restored to one without teasing and discrimination. 

Gregorio after surgery, with volunteer surgeon
Gregorio after surgery, with volunteer surgeon
Gregorio after surgery, with his mother Dona
Gregorio after surgery, with his mother Dona
Gregorio today, happy once again
Gregorio today, happy once again

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