All of the residents and staff of the El Balyana Hospital were extremely hard working. The student nurses were unsung heroines. They were at the hospital first thing in the morning, waiting for the arrival of the minibus, and the last to leave at the end of the day. Assigned to PACU and the post-operative ward, they were seen scurrying around with files, escorting family members to see the patients, changing very tall heavy oxygen tanks, and informing the patients of the post operative instructions.
Though there were two translators on board, it would still have been very much of a struggle to communicate without the help of the residents. This mission had the benefit of plastic surgery, family practice, and even gynecology residents who greatly assisted in translating information to the patients and their families.
During the last week of surgery, there were many “walk-ins,” or people who had heard about the mission via word of mouth and showed up in hopes of getting a chance at having their child operated on. Many walk-ins were accepted for surgery. For even though the schedule was fully booked at the week’s onset, there were other patients who didn't show up for surgery, or who, at the last minute, were not deemed healthy enough to have it on that day. “Walk-ins” filled in the gaps. A total of 22 walk-ins were reviewed after clinic day. In addition, a fourth surgery room was opened to handle procedures that could be done under local anesthesia. The total number of surgeries completed was 170 on 127 patients.
Monday through Wednesday of week two were full days of surgery. The intense schedule was interrupted by visits from several local dignitaries, as well as visits from 5 television stations. The Rotaplast mission was locally famous by the end of the trip. Thursday, the last day, was a “half day”, ending at 2:30. Quartermaster Brian Walker had packed most of the boxes the day before. So at 2:30, after Dr. Capozzi finished the last case, there was time for an appreciation party for the all of the local staff. Everyone received thank you gifts and shared the half vanilla, half chocolate cake made for the occasion.
At the seemingly early hour of 4:00 pm, the bus was off to the hotel for a celebratory buffet dinner with the local Rotary partners and many of the resident doctors. Certificates of appreciation were given to everyone who had worked to make this mission such a success.
Friday was post clinic day. The team was pleased to see so many patients turn up for a quick check up and photo. Everyone was seen by 1:30 pm. Then it was time to part ways.