Registered nurses Mary Lou Carey (left) and Annie Diano took part in a medical mission to the Dominican Republic.

Hancock County Medical Mission team returns from Dominican Republic



ELLSWORTH — The Hancock County Medical Mission (HCMM) recently returned from San Juan, Dominican Republic, after completing 80 major and 59 minor surgeries. The Maine team included a surgeon, three nurses, an OR tech, two high school student helper/translators and a dedicated translator. The group worked with the Dominican chapter of Medical Ministry International of Canada, which provided equipment, supplies, support staff and medical professionals. Vital surgical supplies were provided by HCMM.

Dr. Charles Hendricks has been on 26 missions.
Dr. Charles Hendricks has been on 26 missions.

Dr. Charles Hendricks of Eden Surgical Associates has been on all 26 missions in HCMM’s history, serving in Ecuador (22 missions), Bolivia (one) and the Dominican Republic (three).

Every year, HCMM ventures to a different location, usually a small city hospital in an underserved region. Typically, these poorly equipped hospitals offer birthing services, little to no surgical services and occasional emergency care to stabilize and transport patients to a big city hospital via a bare bones ambulance. The mission had use of two OR rooms and a small wing. Patient beds no longer went up and down, the water was turned on for only 15 minutes a day, and several daily power outages meant total darkness in the OR until someone started up the generator. Most of the local transportation was by motorcycle, and even patients who had undergone major surgery went home on a “moto.”

Every HCMM mission coincides with Carnival, which in the Dominican Republic involved layer upon layer of blaring music from vehicles, fair booths, bars and restaurants until 2 a.m. The trip also coincides with February break so that high school students from Hancock County may participate. HCMM covers all costs for two students a year with a background in Spanish to join the team as helpers and translators. This year, senior Natalie Coleman of Bucksport and junior Leah Remick of Ellsworth were indispensable members of the small team, providing assistance in all work areas.

HCMM is often joined by medical professionals from out of state who are known through past missions or who have ties to Maine. This year, two surgeons and two OR techs came on the mission as a result of their ties to HCMM.

Leah Remick (left) of Ellsworth and Natalie Coleman of Bucksport worked as Spanish language translators.
Leah Remick (left) of Ellsworth and Natalie Coleman of Bucksport worked as Spanish language translators.

HCMM welcomes volunteers such as surgeons (general and OB-Gyn), physicians, nurses, OR techs, EMTs, translators, general helpers, and anesthesia providers. The next mission will be in February 2017.

For more information, contact Sue Young at 359-4402, Mary Townley at 565-3882 or Mary Offutt at 348-2483.

 

 

 

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