The Project HOPE volunteers got a chance to flex their medical muscles at the Barranca medical site in Costa Rica.
Normally a gym, the Barranca medical site was transformed into a clinic. Two restrooms were converted into private examination rooms and local nurses took the patients’ vitals under a basketball hoop. The gym had high ceilings and more breathing room than the classrooms at the Fray Casiano de Madrid site, but the heat was stagnant and visible on the volunteers’ moist faces.
Veterans, like Cherri Dobson, a four-time Project HOPE volunteer nurse from Oakland California, was prepared for the heat. She brought her own fan aboard from a previous volunteer mission. So, in between directing patients to the correct doctors and nurses, she whipped her fan back and forth to keep herself at least a little bit cooler.
Because of a socialized health system and easier access to the medical care in Costa Rica, people can see their local clinics for regular complaints. However, patients who have scheduled surgeries in Costa Rica will most likely wait a couple years to have the procedure.
HOPE volunteers used their medical skills to help patients in the middle of the spectrum—those that are in between needing just the typical vitamins and acetaminophen and others requiring serious surgical cases which need to be performed in country.
Instead of the typical complaints of dizziness, fatigue and aches, Volunteer Lori Brown, a Nurse from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, put her medical knowledge to use treating patients with goiters, depression and more.
“The cases in between are the ones that brighten everyone’s day,” says HOPE volunteer Randy Roarke. “It only takes one case or one great experience to make it all worth the tiring work. Today was a good day.”
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