February 2018 (No)Trip Report


Hard to believe that we would lose a clinic to weather in such a dry year, but cancelling the clinic was a good decision.   The weather in southern Arizona would have been difficult to navigate on Friday morning and It was raining in Baja on Sunday when we would have been trying to return. 

Though our scheduled clinics at LSI and Lopez were canceled, there are two very good things that happened this month.  We’ve been on a long search to continue providing prosthesis to those in need, but have faced challenges.  Our previous provider hasn’t been able to attend clinics for some years, is now retired, and a long search hasn’t yielded a replacement    We learned there is prosthesis available in Nogales Mexico at a very reasonable cost from a high volume provider.  The organization is a nonprofit named ARSOBO which stands for Arizona Sonora Border.  You can learn about their origins and the many services they provide by checking out their website  http://arsobo.org/ .   This model requires that we transport our patients to the Nogales clinic.  Our first two patients, Francisco and Blanca, are doing well and were transported home after a week stay which included fitting, adjustment, and an acclamation period to learn to use their new prosthesis.  Francisco was fitted with a new leg and Blanca was fitted with two.  You can imagine how life changing this will be for them.  The bill from ABSOBO was approximately $1000.00.  That doesn’t include the cost of lodging and the cost of two airplane trips that took them to and deliver them home from Nogales.  We need to fine tune our method, especially the transportation, but we should be able to do this on a scale that will have significant impact at a reasonable cost.  We thank physician Michael Collier for bringing this option to our attention and, along with many others, driving this effort to its first successful completion. 

As they say, “But wait, there’s more!”  We had a repeat of the cataract clinic last performed by the Rutgar group during our May 2016 Lopez Mateos clinic.  Below is an excerpt from the May 2016 clinic report to refresh your memory of this breakthrough event.  We were fortunate that this one was scheduled the Thursday through Saturday after our planned clinic weekend, because the weather was much more cooperative.  Another variation was that in May 2016 the Rutger group chartered an aircraft (Cessna 421) to Lopez Mateos and paid a high price for it.  Not a good thing for a group that provides it valuable service for free.  This time the Aeromedicos, with our support, provided transportation from San Diego to Lopez Mateos for the doctor and his team. 

Excerpt from May 2016 clinic report

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! 

There was also progress in certifying local Lopez Mateos EMT’s as discussed in Alicia’s blog, along with her observations on the cataract clinic.   http://samaritansmovil.blogspot.com/

As months go, not a bad one at all.  Our next clinic will be March 16-18 and we anticipate both Lopez Mateos and LSI.  Hope to see you soon!