Day 3 was the day to prepare for the next mission, which means time for clinic! You might ask, how do the patients make it into our clinic? Here is your answer:
This is the amazing organization in Ecuador that has worked with us through the hospital to fund these patients who may not otherwise get treated. The generosity and hospitality shown by these wonderful people is awe-inspiring. A special shout-out goes to Susana Vallejo and Caridad Ramirez, two people in administration who stayed by our side during the long days and accepted patients on the spot to have their surgeries done on the same day as consultation! We could not have done this without you!
While our clinic was filled with a variety of pediatric and adult otolaryngologic patients, this was the time for our speech pathologist to shine. Sarah had people lined up out the door for feeding evaluations, from questions of aspiration to oral aversion, from children who have had previous airway surgery to babies with just don’t seem to eat right. Any parents reading this blog can relate to the frustration and desperation felt when your child will not or cannot eat without problems. Families were so grateful for Sarah’s advice and adjunct feeding instruments, like special nipples and sippy cups (things that are so readily available to us in the USA); many mothers broke down in tears when they saw how well their children did when they had the right diet and feeding device. Carolina, a local speech pathologist who joined our mission group to learn from Sarah, was amazing, as she broke the language barrier while developing skills that would allow her to have a similar speech pathology set-up in Ecuador. Here are just a few of the day’s highlights:
And remember our little friend Marcel with Tetralogy of Fallot and subglottic stenosis who had a tracheotomy? Even he got the chance to eat more comfortably with his trach after Sarah evaluated him. What a sweet boy and a wonderful family!
After clinic, the hospitality and generosity continued, but this time in a different way. Dr. Ernesto Quinones who you met previously, the pediatric pulmonologist on the team from Ecuador arranged a wonderful dinner so that we could celebrate our success and reminisce about the missions past. Here are the founding fathers of Operation Airway, Drs. Ernesto Quinones, Christopher Hartnick, and Natan Noviski; and in the second picture, our most involved parent, Bernardo Tamayo, an advocate for parents and patients in his community.
Another wonderful day in Quito!