by Lise Rehwaldt, MD Team Leader
This November MIA mission marked our fourth collaborative mission with Victoria Jubilee Hospital and St Joseph’s Hospital. During this mission, we performed 26 abdominal and vaginal hysterectomies for woman, some of whom had been on the Victoria Jubilee surgical waiting list for 3 years. All the patients did well and were extremely grateful. Ob/Gyn Residents from Victoria Jubilee participated in almost all surgical cases offering us the wonderful opportunity to teach and learn from them as well.
In the OR, we had the wonderful assistance of Angela Baumeister, RPAC who met most of the patients in the pre-operative clinic, assisted surgically and then followed up with them very closely post-operatively also offering great continuity of care. This was her first mission with us, but she has already expressed that she will be back next November. Dr. Mary Jo O’Sullivan and I were grateful for the presence of Dr. Frank Majors, Gyn Oncologist who was always willingly available for intraoperative consultations. We were also grateful for the assistance of our Jamaican Anesthesiologist colleagues who were able to help out some to relieve our wonderful, hardworking Andrea Green.
Clinics the first week were located in Saint Mary’s township, the area of Jamaica which was hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. Many of us in the Northeast were coming from our own first personal experience with a hurricane and received comfort and advice from our Jamaican friends. We were blessed to have Anne Galante and Mureen Shaw who have been with us many times, Joyce Dobbertin, a Family Practice physician with us for the first time and Alinea, our medical student Sugar Scholar, rounding out the clinic team. In 4 days our team saw 170 patients and performed 43 pap smears. The day after our team left Aunty June, our gracious host in Port Maria, the town was flooded with 4 feet of water after an extreme rainfall. Our thoughts are with them during this challenging time.
On November 11 we joined our VJH Colleagues in a Scientific Symposium celebrating 120 years of service for Victoria Jubilee Hospital. Our own, Dr. Mary Jo O’Sullivan was an honored guest speaker and spoke of her recent experience of obstetrical care in the Congo. The audience was captivated by her engaging presentation. This conference was scheduled to coordinate with the timing of our mission which is further evidence of our wonderful educational collaboration here.
Alinea Noronha, our Medical Student and Sugar Scholar was a wonderful addition to our team. She has such a genuine, caring way about her and was willing to do any and everything with a smile and enthusiasm. The second week we were joined by Georgia Bromfield, our very first Sugar Scholar, now completing her residency in Family practice with hopes to return to Jamaica to practice someday soon. Georgia will be staying in Jamaica for one month and is hoping to pilot some innovative patient teaching groups, focusing on common conditions seen in Jamaica such as Diabetes and HTN. Both of these Sugar Scholar’s have such huge hearts – they do Sugar Proud.
The second week, our team of Mary Jo, Frank, Georgia and Alinea travelled to Magotty in Saint Elizabeth, where the primary focus was cervical cancer screening. They saw 102 patients in a day and a half and performed 73 pap smears, many on women who had never been screened previously. We would never be able to accomplish what we do without the incredible “Aines” as I am going to affectionately refer to them, Elaine, Lorraine and Charmaine. We were grateful to all be together for the conference on the weekend and because of the excellent organization of Elaine and Lorraine prior to the mission starting, everything went off without a glitch. Elaine, a pillar of MIA, is so gracious and generous to warmly open her home to us twice a year. One of the reasons I personally always look forward to Jamaica is because of the precious time spent with Elaine in her home. Charmaine is a wonderful person and fantastic cook. I walked away with yet a few more Jamaican recipes in my pocket this time.
The trip ended with Elaine, Mary Jo and Georgia climbing Blue Mountain as a fundraiser and they all made it!!! If you didn’t pledge before the climb, feel free to do so now for our Patient Care Fund. You can do that on our website at www.medicineinaction.org and clicking on Donate Now. We also plan to have another Blue mountain Climb in March for those of us who were unable to climb this November, including Ambereen who helped organize this one,
so you will have an additional opportunity to show your support for MIA!!! To all our wonderful friends and colleagues in Jamaica, particularly Dr. Rudolph Stevens of VJH and Ms. Gail Hudson of St Josephs, during this time of thanksgiving we give thanks. We have so much to be grateful for.
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