Antigua, GuatemalaFaith in Practice Mission Trip
Faith In Practice is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization that seeks to improve the physical, spiritual, and economic conditions of the poor in Guatemala through short-term surgical, medical and dental mission trips and health-related educational programs.
The majority of the Guatemalan population lives in extreme poverty and has virtually no access to medical care. Guatemala has only nine hospitals for a population of ~15 million people. Faith In Practice sends multiple teams of around 40 volunteers to Guatemala each year and utilizes two of these hospitals, Las Obras and Hilario Galindo Hospital. Each volunteer is responsible for their travel and lodging expenses.
In preparation for the surgical team’s arrival, there are ~100 community workers (network directors) who go to villages to identify people who are suffering from conditions that could be treated by surgical procedures. Faith in Practice evaluates the patients to see if they are the right candidates for surgery, and if so, they schedule the patients to come to the hospital when one of the foreign surgical teams is in the country.
In some cases, patients have to travel eight to ten hours to get to the hospital, so they work with their network director weeks and months in advance on their travel plans.
My team “Surgery Boutros Antigua #497” included seven surgeons: two urologists, two general surgeons, two plastic surgeons and a craniofacial trained ENT facial plastic surgeon. As a team we operated on 90 patients.
The plastic surgery team also operated on a 26-year-old man who had cancer that required excision of his nose and upper lip including his medial and lateral incisors. For two years he has used a surgical mask to cover this defect. During this mission, we took a radial forearm free flap from his non-dominant arm and created an upper lip. Next year, we will rebuild his nose using soft tissue from his forehead.