Medical Campaign

We had a medical campaign last weekend.  We drove a couple hours up into the mountains above Curahuasi arriving at a little pueblo where we set up a small clinic in the local school.  These clinics serve to encourage the local churches as they serve their communities.  They are a lot of work, but they are also a chance to get to know a bit more of Peru.  As workers in the hospital, it is a chance to know one another outside of the hospital setting.  This campaign was nice, because we were not overly busy.  We had time to enjoy the views.  And I was glad to visit this lake that I had heard about, but never been able to find!

High up in thin air

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A medical campaign on the edge of a lagoon

Saturday morning. The darkness was still above Curahuasi when a force of about 30 employees gathered in the parking lot of the hospital Diospi Suyana. At 6:00, the two-hour drive over rocky, mountainous roads began. For the medical campaign, village Pastor Marcos Acuña had chosen the small settlement of Ccocha. No one was paid for this, and the Peruvian workers joined the expedition on a voluntary basis. When the cars finally reached their destination on the edge of a lake, the sun was shining down from the blue sky.

A small school was used as a makeshift hospital. For six hours, our team of doctors and nurses examined the patients who had come great distances on foot. Pediatric nurses Patricia and Esther entertained the children, and also gave medical and dental advice.

Lunch consisted of hot potatoes and salted cheese. Pastor Marcos Acuña and Wilmer Martín Asto gave testimonies about how faith in Jesus Christ had shaped their own lives.

Shortly before sunset, the convoy arrived back at the hospital. Missionaries and Peruvians alike were equally tired, satisfied, and enriched by many unforgettable experiences. We want to give a big thank you to all participants, especially to Kathi and Dominik Hüttner for their preparation for the effort. (Photos by André Bacher, Daniel Dressler and Dr. Martina John)

Two hours out and two hours back

Two hours out and two hours back

The data of the patient are recorded.

The data of the patient are recorded.

A group of patients. During the waiting period, they receive medical advice.

A group of patients. During the waiting period, they receive medical advice.

Patricia and Esther (right) keep the kids entertained.

Patricia and Esther (right) keep the kids entertained.

Dr. Will Caire listens attentively.

Dr. Will Caire listens attentively.

Pediatrician Dr. Martina John treats a Quechua child.

Pediatrician Dr. Martina John treats a Quechua child.

Dr. Ruth Bevan in patient consultation.

Dr. Ruth Bevan in patient consultation.

The ABCs of toothbrushing.

The ABCs of toothbrushing.

Nurse Juvenal translates into Quechua.

Nurse Juvenal translates into Quechua.

Volunteering at Diospi Suyana Hospital

Some information about the Diospi Suyana Hospital from the Samaritan’s Purse website.  If you are a physician interested in volunteering, you can come through Samaritan’s Purse.


DIOSPI_PERU

Profile: Approximately 750,000 people, predominantly indigenous, live within a three hour radius of Curahuasi, Peru. Hospital Diospi Suyana offers comprehensive care to these descendants of the ancient Incas. The facility is equipped with 55 beds, four operating rooms, a five-bed intensive care unit, laboratory and radiology department (X-ray, ultrasound, and CT scan). The hospital is staffed by both Peruvian and expatriate staff.

Travel: You will fly by commercial airline into Lima, the capital city of Peru. Depending on the flight times it might be necessary to overnight in Lima. From Lima you will take a smaller flight to Cuzco. Again, depending on flight times, you might need to overnight in Cuzco. From Cuzco you will travel by ground transportation to Hospital Diospi Suyana. Ground transportation is usually in the form of a hired taxi arranged by the hospital, and normally takes two and one-half hours.

Time Difference: -1 hour Eastern Daylight Savings Time, U.S.A. Same time as Eastern Standard Time, U.S.A.

Location: The small town of Curahuasi, Peru is located in the Andes Mountains. Curahuasi is in the region of Apurimac, known as the poorhouse of Peru. Curahuasi is approximately 85 miles from Cusco, Peru.

People: The people in Curahuasi and the surrounding countryside are Quechua, but do not like to be called as such. They prefer the term “Quechua Hablante” (meaning one who speaks Quechua).

Language: Eighty percent of the local people are Quechua Hablante and their language is Quechua. Approximately 70 precent of Quechua can speak and understand Spanish at an adequate level. The hospital has some Peruvian staff who speak fluent Quechua when translation is necessary. FP, DGP, GS, IM, OBG, OPH, ORS, OTO, PD, U, must be fluent in Spanish

Religion: The area is predominantly Catholic with 10 percent being evangelicals. The area also has a lot of superstition and animism carried over from old Incan religious traditions.

Planning Tourist Trips Around Cuzco

Working around the table.

Working around the table.

We have a couple students from ACU living with us as part of the World Wide Witness program.  They deserve a post longer than they will get tonight.  They are helping us a lot, and we are helping them plan their trip to Macchu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.  If you come to see us, we will do the same for you.

A Normal Night at Diospi Suyana Hospital

What goes on during a call night at Diospi Suyana Hospital?  I won’t say that last Monday was completely typical, but it isn’t totally atypical either.  It started with Roberto, the hospital gardener, coming in with a very fast and persistent heart rate.  With some medicine I was able to control the rate, and he felt better as I admitted him to the hospital to spend the night under observation.  Roberto does not go to our church, in fact, I don’t think he went to church at all.  However, at the request of the family, our pastor, Agustin, came in and prayed with him.  Our pastor has also worked at the hospital for years, and so he knows Roberto.  I walked in to check on Roberto later in the evening and told him his heart was doing a lot better, and Agustin with tears in his eyes told me that Roberto had a brand new heart and that he had committed his life to Jesus that night.

A gardener at the hospital confesses his need for God with our pastor Agustin (in orange).  Coming in to the hospital with your heart beating 200 times a minute will make you reflect on what life is really all about.

A gardener at the hospital confesses his need for God with our pastor Agustin (in orange). Coming in to the hospital with your heart beating 200 times a minute will make you reflect on what life is really all about.

Later I get a call from Jael, a nurse and teacher working at the hospital. She tells me that a friend is doing poorly.  The woman to whom she is referring was hit by a car in the past, and her fractures and wounds never healed properly.  This woman lives in an abusive home, with a drunk husband, and several children.  Jael felt compassion on her when she helped take care of her in the outpatient clinic caring for her wounds, and she asked if she could visit her in her home to read the Bible.  On this visit, she noticed that that older woman was not doing well and discovered she had a reinfection of her leg.  Jael brought her in to be admitted and cared for properly.  As this patient is reluctant to be in the hospital, if Jael had not been there, the infection would likely have worsened to the point that she could have lost her leg.

Jael has been visiting this woman in her home to read the Bible.

Jael has been visiting this woman in her home to read the Bible.

A woman is having her second baby.  She is in the hospital with her husband and first son.  As I walk quickly down the hall to attend the delivery, I notice Harry holding this young, but older brother in his lap, reading and singing and comforting him while his father is in the delivery room with the laboring mother.  Later I found this same young boy asleep in Harry’s lap.  A good nurse knows how to love their patients.  Caring for people is always more than just medicine.

Harry holding this young boy while his father is off attending to the mother while she has a second baby.

Harry holding this young boy while his father is off attending to the mother while she has a second baby.

The night takes a turn for the worse when a young patient suddenly cannot breath.  He had surgery earlier in the week, and for some reason tonight he cannot maintain his level of oxygen.  I consider all the possibilities . . . a blood clot to the lung, a post-operative pneumonia, volume overload, or too much liquid in the lungs, problems with the heart?  I transfer him to the ICU and an x-ray is done.  His left lung is full of liquid.  With the help of the whole medical team he is cared for and the liquid and blood is drained from his thorax.  He is left in critical, but more stable condition.

Getting fluid off the lung with a by putting a needle between the ribs.

Getting fluid off the lung with a by putting a needle between the ribs.

Blood and water from the patients lung.

Blood and water from the patients lung.

A night not unlike many others, and full of the grace of God!

 

Social Work at Diospi Suyana

We have so many patients like you will read about in the following article.  A debilitating illness that leads to a severe medical condition.  There is no social safety net for patients, and many times families are not emotionally, financially, physically, or spiritually equipped to give constant care to a family member.  Read the following article and get a small taste of some of the frustrations of life in the Apurimac region of Peru.

Where the wretched are at homePlane-vor-die-Fenster-900x551

What is missing is a radical renewal

Sara Quispe suffers from a rheumatic disease and every movement hurts her. So, when she goes to bed, she stirs as little as possible. Days and weeks pass, and the skin of her back ruptures and smelly ulcers develop. Finally, her family takes her to the mission hospital. After a six-week stay in hospital, she will eventually be allowed to go home. With the necessary instructions, her family can continue wound care.

Social Worker Debora Centner

Social Worker Debora Centner

Several days ago, social worker Debora Center led a few nurses in a visit to the Quispe home. They found that the domestic and family environment was terrible. The team found a completely polluted mud hut, reeking of alcohol and with dirty rags hung over the windows. Obviously, only hopelessness reigned there.

Debora had trouble getting answers to a few questions about the causes of their misery. The man and the children looked for excuses; each shifted the responsibility on the other. Debora knew that this family needed not only help, but also a radical change of perspective.

Saturday, the staff returned to the mountain village. They were armed with cleaning supplies, brooms and buckets. But, as it turned out, they did not need them. When the family had heard that they would come to clean, it had served as a wake-up call. They found that the home was cleaned properly.

The meeting began with a meal, while the situation was discussed. Again, mutual accusations dominated the conversation. Debora stepped in and spoke about forgiveness, love, and sacrifice. With conviction she said, “God can give us the strength to overcome the misery!” The message seemed to resonate with the family.

Debora Center writes: “Today, they can either come together as a united family, or they can turn away from each other. If they choose to continue in conflict, they will certainly regret it. Fortunately, they seem to be moving towards unity, because Sara’s healing has become most important to them.”

Debora believes that, in the long term, only God can bring about the necessary change of heart. After all, Jesus came to earth to help the broken and desperate. With his friendship, we have the power to break the vicious cycle of egoism and conflict.

Eating together, praying together

Eating together, praying together

Photo of the group in front of the adobe house.

Photo of the group in front of the adobe house.

Beekeeper in Training

This week was project week at Colegio Diospi Suyana.  David was doing the fauna of Peru, and had a chance to visit a bee farm (nursery, roost, or whatever they call them).  They didn’t have beekeeper suits for everyone, so they tried to protect the kids in other ways.  This is a picture that was taken of David in his improvised beekeeper outfit.

It doesn't really look like it will keep the bees out to me.

It doesn’t really look like it will keep the bees out to me.

Dancing in Cuzco

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Celebrating something in Cuzco.  There were hundreds of these dancers, but we could never find out exactly what was going on.

Celebrating something in Cuzco. There were hundreds of these dancers, but we could never find out exactly what was going on.uzco Photo