Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009 – Day 1 Clinic

At 7:30am this morning, the team wound their way up a mountain via a steep, narrow dirt road towards El Cedro, a small community clinging to the side of a cliff. El Cedro is home to approximately 800 families, each of which typically consists of 10 to 12 people. One of the first patients the medical staff met was a young woman who had 15 children.

Most families in the area are farmers, the primary crop being coffee. The average family of 10 people collectively earn around $80 USD per month.

The nearest medical services to El Cedro are more than two hours away by bus, so there was understandably great excitement for FTC Canada’s visit. Several of the children were dressed in their finest to see the medical staff, and many were receiving their first ever check-up.

The 2009 El Salvador project is fortunate to have 12 medical personnel; doctors, nurses and paramedics. While almost every patient expressed much gratitude for the clinic, some patients were more profoundly affected by the team’s visit.

13 year-old Erica has slowly been losing her hearing for over a year. It has become so debilitating that she has failed her school year. Dr. Tony examined her ears but was unable to see any sign of damage, leading him to suspect neurological damage. The only way to diagnose this would be for Erica to travel to San Salvador and undergo expensive testing. FTC Canada was very pleased to be able to arrange to pay for her to receive that testing.

Juan Antonio suffered from a benign lipoma, essentially a large collection of fat on his ribcage about the size of a tangerine. He was unable to afford to have the growth removed. Dr. Elizabeth and the team quickly scrubbed up to perform minor surgery and successfully removed the growth, much to Juan Antonio’s relief.

35 year-old Evelio was walking home at night when thieves attempted to rob him. He fought back but during the fight he was unfortunately shot in the foot. He was lucky that the bullet passed through cleanly, but a month later, his wound still hadn’t healed. Paramedic Christine was able to treat him with much-needed antibiotics and a fresh dressing.

With over 600 patients seen this day, the FTC Canada 2009 El Salvador Project is off to a great start. All the team’s members are eager to continue in this spirit and see even more patients tomorrow.

No comments: