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First News Summer 2008

Local Surgical Team Provides Care in the Philippines

   Three operating room nurses from Walsenburg, three Trinidad-based anesthetists, and general surgeon Dr. Charles Yeagle teamed up with nine other medical professionals from Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver and Guam to provide surgical care to the residents of Samar, Philippines and the surrounding islands in January, 2008. This was the second year our area medical personnel have participated with International Surgical Missions (ISM) to provide expert surgical care to Samar. The team participated in 180 operations over six days including repair of cleft lips and palates and other developmental abnormalities, thyroidectomy for goiter, hernia repair, and resection of tumors of the neck, ovary, breast, and colon. "Because of the lack of medical and surgical care in Samar, the diseases are more complex and advanced than what we see in the United States," Dr. Yeagle explained. "I will do more challenging procedures in one mission than I do in a year at Mt. San Rafael Hospital. The mission gives me the opportunity to fully use my surgical skills and to interact with Filipino surgeons and dentists who also donate their time."

   Local anesthetists Dave and Beth Hudson and their associate Alexis Tabor agree as to the challenges found in Samar. "The hospital and anesthesia facilities there are quite primitive by our standards and it makes us very appreciative of the excellent facilities we have at Mt. San Rafael Hospital, Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center and Miners Colfax Medical Center." Dr. Paul Radway, a retired general surgeon from Pueblo, founded ISM and it receives administrative assistance from Parkview Medical Center. "We are thankful to the many area sponsors who contribute financially and to the area physicians, pharmacies and hospitals who donate medicines and unused surgical supplies that make missions like this possible," remarks Dr. Radway. Volunteers give of their own time and pay most of their own expenses. Nurses Mary Cope, Susan Goemmer, and Keri Vastine all agree this was a life-changing experience. In addition to working long 12-14 hour days, they also helped give some fifty Filipino student nurses their first surgical experience. Moreover, they are all thankful to SPRHC CEO Steve Perkins for allowing them to take time off together for the mission. "This has helped us prepare for even bigger challenges here at home," says Mary Cope.

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