A Mission to the Philippines
As a Gynecologist/Urogynecologist, it is my privilege to be able to travel the globe and help our fellow sisters in need. My work has taken me as far as Ghana and Cambodia, and most recently, the Philippines. I spent a wonderful week helping some amazing women.
I arrived in Manila, Philippines under the cover of night. It is a bustling city, complete with tall buildings and bright lights, almost Las Vegas style. I stayed overnight in a hostel prior to departing for Tacloban, meeting up with my fellow participants of Medical Ministry International (www.medicalministrytrips.org).
The next day, we departed for the airport and made our way to Tacloban. Upon our arrival, we found an airport only covered by a roof, the walls had been ripped out by the typhoon. We boarded our bus and drove to Leyte.
The next day, we organized our supplies and set up the operating rooms, seeing patients that afternoon and scheduling surgeries for the next day. Although my fellow surgeons and I completed over 30 surgeries successfully that trip, one patient stood out.
Her name was Gabriella. She is a 38 year old lady who has never had children. She suffered with severe pain and heavy bleeding over the past 3 years which kept her from working and supporting herself. She came to us after she saw other doctors who would not treat her because she could not pay. She wanted a hysterectomy.
At first, we were reluctant to perform such a surgery on someone who has never had children. But she explained to us that since she could not work in this pain, she would never be able to support a family, regardless of anything. She entreated us, and after a long discussion, she was scheduled for surgery.
We performed a difficult hysterectomy on Gabriella, whose uterus was large and boggy, sticking to the rectum and bladder. This can sometimes happen with those who have had surgery int he past, but Gabriella had never had surgery.
The next day, she was up and smiling. Her pain was gone! She went home a day later to a new life with new possibilities.