Together with all of the medical professionals already mentioned in previous blog-posts, there are of course many of us in either supportive or administrative roles.
The Mission Director for Ethiopia 2016 is Jean Bird, a member of the Restor International Board and a Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Kelowna. Dr. Stan Valnicek (featured in the “Surgeons” post) is the surgical team leader, and the Surgical Care Coordinator for the team is Kim East (all 3 from Kelowna, BC). Jean and Kim are both registered nurses with multiple mission experience.
At the top of this post the image is of Deb Nolan, a Rotarian (with the Cumberland Centennial Club in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island) and veteran of 2 previous trips to Mexico with her Rotary Club. Over twenty years of service as a flight attendant, and self-employed for many years as a professional seamstress, this is her first medical mission.
Deb has been the anchor of our mobile administrative unit, preparing and logging all of the medical charts under Jean & Kim’s supervision, interviewing all of the patients over the first 3 “admission” days, and keeping all of the patient files organized for both the mission and all-important follow-up to come. At the top of the post, Deb is on her way to work… we have a pleasant 15-20 minute walk from the hotel to reach the hospital, and are often joined along the way by the children on their way to school.
Often assisting Deb on the administration desk is Tim Cowan, also a Rotarian from Comox (Vancouver Island) and a pharmacist by trade. Tim’s official title on the trip is Quartermaster (see earlier post about the Market), a job occasionally shared with me, but being Tim’s second trip with Restor (he was on the 2014 trip to Gamby Hospital) he is familiar with many of the requirements and has helped out all over. A significant contribution has been Tim’s professional pharmaceutical knowledge, as you may correctly guess that most of the team experienced some form of GI (gastrointestinal) symptom during the 2 weeks we were in Ethiopia!
Not exactly a stranger to the medical profession, one of the so-called “non-medical” volunteers is Dr. Clifford Moore, enjoying his first mission-trip along with many of us, a retired Orthodontist by profession. Cliff’s role on the mission was sterilization, but given his advanced dental training and knowledge of medical procedure he often scrubbed in as an “assist” to the surgeons. Cliff has commented on how impressed he is with the adaptability of pretty much everybody on the team. “They are all willing to jump in, to help in any way that is needed at the time.”
Our ward coordinator for this trip is Lisa Hammond, who also attended the 2014 mission to Bahir Dar with the previous Restor-Rotary trip. Lisa runs a resort with her husband on Lake Osoyoos in the south Okanagan, but enjoys the service she is able to give supporting Ethiopia-2016. As compared with her previous experience, Lisa is most struck by the differences in patient care on the ward. The traditional style is for patients to be largely on their own following release from the O.R., with families providing much of the care. Lisa notes a distinct improvement in patient comfort this time, with the training provided by our team professionals, in the pain management courses (see earlier blog), and with improved communication between team members and local staff.
Often found with Lisa on the ward is Matt Williamson, 16-year old son of surgeon Dave Williamson. Matt (he and Lisa were both mentioned in earlier posts) has provided assistance to just about everybody during our visit. But his biggest impact by far has been with the young patients and, in fact, pretty much all of the younger folk we have encountered in Bahir Dar!
Finally on this list are the photo-journalists, Dina Kotler and myself. A first mission for both of us, this has been an amazing experience. You can’t help but pick up on the amazement and emotion we have experienced throughout the past two weeks as you read through some of the stories we have witnessed!
– Peter Schultz & Dina Kotler