UVA Medical Team Reflects on Trip Providing Treatment to People in Guatemala
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Dozens of people in Guatemala are now getting the medical care they need after a recent visit from doctors and nurses from the University of Virginia Medical Center.
The endoscopy unit flew in new medical equipment and hit the ground running treating and diagnosing patients in Santiago.
“Work hard,” Dr. Bryan Sauer, the director of endoscopy at UVA, said. “Serve others. Have fun."
Those are the three phrases that come to mind when Dr. Sauer recounts his February trip to Guatemala.
“It's really been three-and-a-half years of lots of patients and behind-the-scenes work that I was doing mostly, talking to companies about donating equipment, talking to the hospital,” Sauer said.
That work was all for a mission trip to bring endoscopic care to Santiago, a lower-income area in Guatemala.
“Endoscopy is something, again, we're looking in the esophagus, stomach, or the colon and that's not available in all parts of the world," Sauer said.
Since it’s not widely available, Sauer and his team brought the small hospital everything they needed and they worked together to perform 43 procedures at discounted rates.
“It was eye-opening, being able to go down and help people not as fortunate who don't have access to the health care that we have here in the United States and being able to provide that care to those was very rewarding,” Farren Dodson, a nurse, said.
Although the trip is over, their work is far from finished.
“Now it's really about kind of moving forward and creating this long-term partnership where we go down there regularly and really hope to train the hospital staff about how to take care of and use the equipment and identify a physician that would be there long-term that would be there permanently that would be able to be trained and use the equipment,” Sauer said.
The team is already planning its next trip back to Guatemala.
Another group will head down in November, and another will go in March of 2020.