Smiles in Venezuela

Posted on 10. Aug, 2012 by in Healthcare Consulting

I just returned from a 10-day trip with Rotoplast, International in Cumana, Venezuela, a city of 600,000 and where bars are on every window.  I was there to contribute in my capacity as an OR nurse to help mend the faces of beautiful children and in doing so, the hearts of the parents.

For seven  12-15 hr. days in the Operating Room, battling through a sore throat, body aches and GI distress, I worked alongside my professional colleagues: anesthesiologists, surgeons, nurses, pediatricians, speech pathologist, orthodontist, and non-medical staff (medical records, trip support, and volunteers) in hopes of making a difference.   Below is a sequence of photos which capture a mother’s reaction to seeing her 7 month old son with his lip intact.

My current area of practice is in the field of environmental sustainability.  There are parallels between my experience in Venezuela and my efforts to help decrease the environmental impact of healthcare delivery in the US:  hope and proof that one person, joined by other individuals, can indeed make a difference; the magic that occurs in the connection between people when we share our gifts, resources and unique talents; and how compassion and caring can connect people faster than instant messaging.

I hold fast to these beliefs in the face of “sostalgia”, the distress caused by environmental change.  We have an uncertain future that is dependent on the decisions and actions we take today.  It is easy to fall into despair, and hard to fight the good fight.  The road less traveled, however, is always about the journey, and what we learn about ourselves in the process.

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