La Paz de Susan

Link here to La Paz de Susan, Sister Susan Dewitt's blog about working with PazSalud and living in El Salvador from 2009 through 2013.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Scrubs reborn

Darren writes:

A very special thank you goes out to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center for donating over 35 new scrubs to PazSalud!  We were recently able to pass on this generous donation to Dr. Alfredo Enrique González, the Director of the National Hospital of Santiago de Maria - where we conducted our 2013 Eye Surgery Mission - who is now able to outfit his entire pediatric department personnel with free scrubs.  It is very common in El Salvador for hospitals to require that their employees purchase their own scrubs which places an extra burden on already stretched paychecks, especially among the lower-paid positions like nurses, techs and maintenance workers.  A donation of scrubs makes a big impact in the lives of individual employees at public hospitals who work tirelessly to care for the poorest people of El Salvador and who make our surgery missions possible.  Thank you PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center!

The photo below shows Dr. González (right) with Marvin Hernandez, who was our great partner in Estanzuelas and in last year's surgery mission in the small National Hospital at Santiago de Maria.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Learning and flourishing

Kathy Garcia writes:

On a recent trip to El Salvador I had the opportunity to visit with 12 year old Sandra, one of PazSaluds special patients. PazSalud first encountered Sandra about two years ago during our general medical mission trip to San Jose Villanueva. When we first met, she was a very shy 10 year old who had been born with arthrogryposis, a condition of weak muscles and inflexible joints. Due to her disabilities, Sandra had never been able to attend school until just over a year ago.

Rosy Melara (on the left in the photo above), a Salvadoran nurse we have worked with for many years, also has a degree in special education, and volunteered to tutor Sandra for several months to get her ready for the Salvadoran school system.  Then she was able to start in a local public school with the aid of a tutor.

Rosy, Darren and I dropped in to visit Sandra at school early one afternoon. It was perfect timing as the kids were on recess. We talked with Sandras teacher and her new in-class tutor. Sandra introduced us to the new friends she has made and showed us her workbooks - which were very impressive!  Also, we were able to see the custom built desk that Darren made for her, which adjusts perfectly to her needs.

Although Darren and Rosy visit Sandra on occasion, it had been over a year since I last saw her and the first time for me to see her school. And what a difference a year makes! Shes grown quite a bit, appears to be more confident, smiles often, and is very outgoing. The biggest physical change I noticed was now she can walk flat footed, no longer on her toes as she once did. The twice weekly visits to physical therapy are making a big difference in her abilities.

It was a delight to see Sandra flourishing in school and with her friends.  This is all possible due to a wonderful donor from PeaceHealth who supports the cost of Sandras tutor and transportation expenses for her to attend physical therapy. Donors such as this allow PazSalud the opportunity to help foster patients with long term needs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting ready for surgery

After our second meeting with prospective patients on Sunday we now have 51 residents of San Pedro Perulapán confirmed for PazSalud's upcoming surgery mission in May.  It was another great meeting where we got to talk to them about the process, how to prepare and what to expect.  Most importantly, we were there to answer their myriad questions about the surgery and calm their fears and doubts about a surgical experience in a major medical center like Hospital Cojutepeque.  For some of our patients, this will be their very first trip to a hospital for anything, let alone surgery.