In November 2013, Dr. Armstrong will work alongside Honduran surgeons, surgical residents, anesthesiologists, operating room nurses, and other hospital staff to partner with and offer training in surgical procedures that allow them to advance their skills and provide an increased level of care after the team departs.
The surgical mission project, Operation New Life, has developed a relationship with several surgical departments in these hospitals, and has been providing one-week surgical brigades in plastics, maxillofacial surgery, general and burn surgery, orthopedic surgery, and gynecologic surgery since 2003. In the planning stages are trips with a focus on ENT, cardiovascular, emergency medicine, neurosurgery. Operation New Life is teaming with Global Health Outreach in these hospitals. (Continued after the video….)
Teams often provide advanced equipment such as arthroscopy and laparoscopy, train the surgeons in appropriate use, then leave the equipment with the hospital, having taught the personnel “how to fish”. Personal relationships are built with Hondurans that often allow team members to have conversations leading to spiritual discussions and an understanding of the love and truth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is ample opportunity for one to one “live out their faith” as they are observed moving about the hospital.
The team has an active prayer ministry within the hospital, often called “the Heart of the Team”. Members of the prayer team make daily rounds visiting patients and their families throughout the hospital offering physical and spiritual hope through prayer and by providing small items for personal hygiene, Spanish Bibles, toys for children, and praying for particular needs.
Teams usually arrive in Tegucigalpa on Friday afternoon, travel to the mountainous countryside to view and experience village life, a Christian after school program and then on to the hotel. Saturdays are spent evaluating patients with the Honduran surgeons, selecting the candidates for surgery the following week. Some team members may spend Saturday preparing the necessary equipment and supplies for the surgical cases that will begin on Monday. Sunday is a day of rest, Church, and sight-seeing. Some enjoy shopping for souvenirs while the patients receive pre-operative laboratory testing and medical evaluation prior to surgery. Surgery then takes place at both Hospital Escuela and Hospital San Felipe from Monday through Friday. A typical day starts with breakfast at the hotel at about 6:00 am, team devotions at 6:45, then departure for the hospital at about 7:30. Surgery is often planned from 8:00 am to about 5:00 pm, though cases may run late as is common anywhere surgery is performed! The team returns to the hotel sometime between 6:00 and 8:00 pm, has dinner together, and a team sharing meeting most evenings. The team then returns to the United States on Saturday, tired, but spiritually rejuvenated and with a newly developed love of the Honduran people. The common question on return is “when can we come back?”