Noelle G. Cloven, MD – Trip to Guatemala
I recently returned from a medical mission trip with HELPS International to Guatemala. The team was Dallas based Team Esperanza and consisted of over 100 volunteers including physicians, nurses, surgical technologists, pharmacists, medical students, translators, a cooking team and nonmedical support personnel who also traveled more remotely into the community building stoves and water purifications systems.
The experience was a first for me and my family and was stimulating and exhausting. It was amazing to see a group of people from all over the country, with different ages and backgrounds come together and care for patients. We were at the military base in Huehuetenango and turned an old “hospital” into a clinic, a fully functioning OR, recovery room, pharmacy and post op care unit. It is unbelievable how much we accomplished with so little resources but unencumbered by computers, insurance companies and administrative requirements. There was a natural integrity of the team and everyone was committed to providing the best quality care possible in the setting. (We still did time outs before surgery….although not quite as lengthy as those required in the United States!)
After 6 days of hard work, the team spent three days in the beautiful city of Antigua at the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. I plan on returning next year and would encourage everyone to consider medical mission work. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to call me.
Noelle Gillette Cloven MD
Associate Chair, Gynecologic Research Program