March 2018 Trip Report


We had two successful clinics this month and that was fortunate after losing February to weather.   We had most of our offerings well covered, but unfortunately had no dentists this month.  Our scheduled Sams dentists both had unexpected conflicts and the two planned Aeromedicos dentists canceled because of weather on the coast.  I consider us fortune that the same weather didn’t interfere with our flights in any way.    I know our Lopez Mateos clinic was very busy and the patient count was high, but I’ll spend most of my words on Laguna San Ignacio (LSI) because that’s the one I flew.   My first pleasant surprise was the very good condition of the LSI runway and parking area.  The approach end of the runway had previously been hard to pick out, especially when landing to the north.  That task has been made a lot easier by concrete end of runway pads similar to Mulege with clear white runway numbers.  The parking area can have loose sand, but at least for this trip, it was very firmly packed.  

LSI is a smaller clinic than Lopez, but still important in its own way.  Transportation in and out of LSI is not as good as Lopez and that somewhat limits the attendance to the local community.    I’ve written before that going there makes me appreciate the water and electricity we get from the cannery to supply the Lopez clinic.  The propane power generator and trucked in water add a bit to the complexity of the day, but fortunately a new battery flown in for starting the generator made everything work well.  Our relatively small but mighty group of providers and their support team had a busy day.  The patient count 13 pediatric, 12  general medicine and 10 hygiene patients.  Our sole hygienist was able to handle so many patients by using a very able dental assistant/interpreter to do the polishing.  As with this trip, I find that those who staff that clinic very much enjoy the experience. 

Some may remember the palapa where they used to serve us lunch at LSI.  That structure is no longer available to them because it appears to having been repurposed,.  To replace the loss, we are supporting them in changing one of the clinic rooms into a small kitchen.   I pretty certain they want the kitchen to support the clinic’s dual function as a community center as much as they want it to feed us.  So be it; in such a small and isolated community, I can image that community functions and the cohesion they bring can be very important. 

LSI was previously equipped with three ‘field’ dental chairs that we replaced with regular dental chairs.   Two of them remain folded up in a back room at LSI should they be needed.  I brought the third one back to Serenidad and plan to transport it to Lopez next clinic.  It folds up compactly and sets up quickly should we ever need an overflow dental chair.  While we’re on the subject of equipment here’s a reminder.  We now have an AED at Lopez and it’s located in the pharmacy.  We have a second AED that’s part of our emergency medical kit developed in the event any of our group has a medical problem away from clinic.  If I’m on the trip I carry it in my airplane, N11TJ, in the nose compartment.  If I’m not on the trip or fly a direct to clinic on Friday, it will be carried by another pilot. 

Our next clinic is scheduled for April 20 – 22.  I hope we will have clinics at both Lopez and LSI because I think we really need to get caught up on dental at LSI.  Hope to see you soon!