I spent the last week with an amazing group of people with Medical Ministry International in Sabana de la Mar, Dominican Republic. It was truly a life changing experience; opening my eyes to the awesome privilege of being blessed with my particular set of skills as a nurse anesthetist. The week began with a flight to Santo Domingo and a van ride to Sabana de la Mar over a very rough and winding country road. The roads and the Dominicans make for an “interesting yet tense” experience for your first time. First off, there are motorcycles everywhere (and I do mean everywhere – sidewalks, the shoulders of the roads, the wrong side of the road, and even occasionally in the road). But Dr. Teo Beato got us there in one piece. We spent the weekend getting acquainted with everyone on the project and allowing those who had already been there a week some time for R&R. Monday thru Thursday was full of surgeries. The major surgery cases requiring anesthesia usually finished up around 1-3 pm but the surgeons kept right on working till around 5-5:30 pm with minor surgery cases (lovingly referred to as lumps and bumps for lipomas, ganglions, moles, etc). With only two operating tables, the project completed over 130 surgeries in 9 days. I feel I have grown thru the experience and look forward to going on more mission trips. Right now I’m trying to decide if it would be fun to go other places, maybe even non-medical trips, or set my sites on helping out the community of Sabana de la Mar…
Here are some of the pictures and videos I got along the way (Disclaimer: I am nurse anesthetist, NOT a photographer).
These next pictures are a little blurry because the road was rather bumpy. The Repuesto is a tire replacement shop from what I am told. Yes, that is a Bank for the second picture. The third picture shows the rather unique perspective the Dominicans have in regards to road safety. The last picture in this group shows what seemed to be the average distance a building is from the country highway/road.
The typical hospital room at the hospital (complete with four beds, no lights, no bathroom, and no meal service – if you want to eat, your family/friends bring it) and a panoramic shot of our surgery room with two OR tables.
The last pictures are of the Dominican Republic Anesthesiology Residents (Cesar did anesthesia for one of the OR tables while I did the other and Aimee did all the PreOp H&Ps) I worked alongside during our trip and Dr. Beato and me.
Well… It was quite an experience; one that I think everyone should experience to some extent in their lives.