May 2016 Trip Report
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Where to begin! So many good things happened. After trying for many years, we got cataract surgeries performed right in our Lopez Mateos clinic. The Rutgar group is a very amazing team that has perfected a procedure to perform these surgeries in remote locations. When our Aeromedico friends learned they were coming to Baja, they persuaded them to make a stop at our clinic. They flew in at about 11am, unloaded their equipment, and selected one of our medical exam rooms. We dragged (literally) a dental chair into the room, they set about to methodically cleaning and sterilize and by early afternoon cataract surgeries were being performed. I saw it happen and I still almost don’t believe it! Other information about all the good things that happened at May’s clinic are covered on Alicia’s blog http://samaritansmovil.blogspot.com/. Be sure to check it out, because there was a lot more going on than is covered here.
You’ll notice from the blog that we had two planes direct to Lopez on Friday afternoon. Saturday night, as usual, for these planes was in Mulege/Hotel Serenidad. Having triage and dental available first thing Saturday morning before the other planes arrived really gave us a very effective head start. I think this is an approach we should consider as more the norm rather than an exception. If you’re asked to be a part of one of those advanced planes, I think you’ll find it to be a good experience. I was one of the two this trip and it gives a different perspective of Lopez Mateos than the normal ‘in and out in one day’ experience. The accommodations and food are good and you get to see the setup that takes place before our normal arrival. (It’s not practical for all of us to spend Friday night in Lopez Mateos, because a group our size would overwhelm the place.)
Laguna San Ignacio was a very successful dental only clinic, but not without its mysteries and concerns that could have cancelled the clinic. As late as Thursday, we had not been in touch with any of our local contacts after many attempts. The chance of a successful LSI clinic is very low without some local support to give notice to perspective patients and make other arrangements. Contact was finally made and the clinic was again back in the plan. We clarified some contact information and added a third contact to reduce the chance of having this happen again.
There was at least one more hurdle between us and a successful clinic. Last month the clinic’s generator wouldn’t start, but that was not a show stopper for April’s medical only clinic. May’s dental clinic would have been severely limited without the generator to power the dental support equipment. We weren’t certain of the problem, but best guess was a bad battery. A new one was flown in and fortunately that turned out to be the solution; the generator started right up. Whew! As expressed before; “If you don’t deal well with uncertainty, we’re probably not for you.” (I’ve used this so often, maybe I should come up with an acronym like ‘IYDDWWUWPNFY’. OK, maybe not that one. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?)
Other highlights of this trip include an impressive group of new to us health care providers, interpreters, a pilot, and a media professional. We also had the gift of pleasant weather and, as always, good companions with whom to share the experience.
Our next clinic is June 17-19, our second to the last scheduled for this clinic season. At of this writing, it is not yet certain if it will be Lopez Mateos only or if we will also have a clinic at LSI. See you soon!