Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Final Blog Honduras 2013

To read in date order, please start with Honduras 2013 First Blog towards the bottom of the page

For additional photos click here 
The rest of the week went smoothly. The student docs where getting more confident in their techniques’. Our goal, as directors is to see if they could at least treat a knee or shoulder alone and with confidence by the time they leave.  They will still continue to improve but this is a good start.  Of course, as with the first week, there is always an endless stream of patients to treat.  Every day we had to limit the sign in at about 55-60 patients. This still meant that we would treat patients until about 5 or 5:30.  We would start each day at 8am with a half an hour lecture on one of the joints, back or neck.  And later on that day, another half an hour (or more) of lecture either at lunch or at the end of the day.  These lectures are mostly given by the directors and other upper level instructors.

One last note: a few of the docs went to the hospital for a tour.  I had been a few times but did not go this time.  But the stories and what they saw were the same or even worse.  Now when one is scheduled for surgery, you are given a list of items you need to bring.  30 gauze pads, sutures, stitches, antibiotics and more.  If you cannot bring them, then no surgery. And the hospital cannot afford it as they are only given money by the government which has so little.

The last night in my town, Olanchito, we have a small party at the restaurant where we eat.  This is a local place that is well known. The restaurant is very rustic and eclectic and Erika has been serving us lunch and dinner for many years now.  She decorates the place up and makes us all wear different hats - see photos.  There was a large American flag hanging up as well as red, white and blue table cloth with small little American flags. She had a DJ there playing music so a fun time was had by all.  Everyone, including the translators and others that helped us were invited, ate dinner and danced for a few hours.  We all had a great time.

Thursday am we saw patients for about 2 1/2 hours and then cleaned up the clinic.  The following week a group of docs (through this foundation) comes in to treat veins so we do not have to tear down the clinic set up.  Then it is aback to LA Ceiba (the main town) where we meet the other two clinic teams.  We have a small party at this hotel around the pool.  We used to have a larger party one at a local club/restaurant but due to safety concerns (going back and forth at night) we keep it in the hotel.

After dinner we go to a small room and Dr Jeffery Patterson, the foundations director, says a few words. The next morning, there is a bus at 7am that takes us all to the airport in San Pedro Sula, about three hours away.  Instead of flying home, I go to spend two days with my mom.  I wanted to take the 8am flight, so I hired a car to drive me at 3:30am so I would not waste the whole day in the airport (the next flight to Miami is at 3:30pm).

My brother picked me up and I spent a lovely two days with my mom and brother.  Now it is back to LA (Sunday) and get ready for a busy week at my practice which has been essentially closed for two weeks).

If you have read this far, I want to think you for taking the time.  Again, as in the past, the emotional rewards are more than money can buy. What we are able to give the Honduran people during these two weeks is priceless.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Honduras 2013 Fourth Blog - An Emotional Day at the Clinic

Today was an emotional one for me.  One of my student docs got a patient that really hit me hard.  He was a 13 year old boy who had lost his leg when he was eight years old. He got hit by a car and lost his left leg above his knee (this means almost no chance of prosthesis since it would need to be an artificial knee too).  Anyhow, his right knee was now hurting.  And he was having difficulties using his crutches due to the right knee (the good one) pain.

He was brave during the whole procedure.  I performed it and my student doc assisted me.  This was done since speed was a factor because the young boy could only bend his knee for a short while without pain and due to his age, as he was very anxious and crying.   All in all, he did well with the procedure. We also referred them to the local physical therapy place in town that the foundation built. Hopefully they will go next week.

I gave his mother 100 Lempira, which is a good sum for them.  She thanked me profusely.  I had to borrow this from another doc as I had only a little local money.  I told her to buy him something nice.  As they were leaving one of the translators told me that the woman with him was not his mother but is grandmother.  We caught up with them right before the door and I asked her where his parents were.  She said the father was almost unknown as he left before his kid was born.  And when he lost his leg his mother (this women’s daughter), took off illegally to the US and wants nothing to do with him.  It was all I could do to hold back tears.  I gave her the rest of the local money I had in my pocket (about 50 Lempiras) and wished her well.  She gave me a big hug and thanked me for everything.

This is why I come to Honduras- making a difference in peoples’ lives; one person at a time.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Honduras 2013 Third Blog

Friday started off as a normal day. We went to the clinic to start seeing patients at 8am.  We finished at 10:30am so that we could go back to the hotel to pack up and leave to Roatan for the weekend. We have to go to LA Ceiba to fly over to Roatan, a small island off the coast. SO first it’s a three hour ride to LA Ceiba airport.  On the way there, it started to rain. Once there we waiting about 90 minutes before getting on the plane.  Then we just sat there.  This was in a small, propeller driven, 19 seater plane. There were no pilots on board- one could see this as it is an open cockpit. It was very hot and humid in the plane.  Fortunately they left the back door open, so I so stood by it to get some air.  It was raining so we were just hanging out on the plane.  I asked a ground crew member what was happening and he just pointed at the cloudy sky and shrugged his shoulders. Finally I ran back to the terminal and asked what was happening.  They said that the airport was closed and that we could all wait in the terminal.  Why they did not tell us that before, who knows.  Back in the terminal, we met up with the other two clinic members who were on the planes after ours. We waited almost three hours. At one point they brought out a jet (the other planes were propellers until and after 30mins said the plane was ready but that the airport- tower- was officially closed. SO it was back to the hotel and check into it and had dinner and hopefully go in the am
PS all this movement and going back to the hotel (where we do not have reservations) and getting dinner is not easy as we are a group of 75 people. And cancelling our reservations in Roatan. Plus we had a restaurant reserved for Roatan that the foundation has a dinner for everyone.  All that needed to be cancelled.

The next am (Saturday) the airport was still closed.  So after going out to the airport early, just in case it opened, we made a group decision to stay in La Ceiba and cancel our weekend get a way in Roatan. So no diving for me and a few others. C'est al vie.  La Ceiba has a mall, movie theater and a gym. While some went to the mall or a movie, I and several others went to the gym. We all then spent the rest of the day catching up on e-mails and conversations with the others.  Sunday we all returned to our respective clinics to start again on Monday.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Honduras 2013 Second Blog

Sunday we drove three hours to the mountain town of Olanchito, where the clinic is located.  Fairly rural town of 40,000 but with the surrounding mountains and valley there is a population of 120,000 altogether.  Only about 10-15 roads in town are paved, so travel, even by car, is slow once you get here.

We went to the hall that will be our clinic and unpacked the boxes (some sent by us and some left here) to setup the clinic.  Our rooms are basically poles that we put together and sheets from the polls.  This all took about 3 hours. You can see from the pictures here that we start with a bare room and end up with a clinic.  Plus getting all the supplies that go in the rooms organized (syringes, needle, sharps containers, tables, sheets, etc.) to be prepared for the am.  Afterwards, we went to an open air restaurant for a good meal and then back to the hotel for a much needed rest.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Honduras 2013 First Blog

Leaving my practice for two weeks is always hectic.  Not only am I gone for the two weeks, but the office gets very busy prior to that.  Anyhow, after an overnight flight to Miami, I arrived to receive a hug from my mom. I could fly directly thru Dallas, but choose to go via Miami just so I can see my mom. She lives about half an hour from the airport. At 87 she is still very 'young' and vibrant. She swims or walks six days a week in the pool for 30-40 minutes.  And volunteers at hospital (22 years+) one day a week.  And plays bridge four times a week at a Bridge Club. And more. I guess I get my energy from her.
The pictures here are of me and my mom and brother. My brother lives in Florida and drove her to the airport. All three of us had a nice leisurely breakfast at the airport hotel overlooking the runways.  Then it was on to Honduras.  I arrived on time at 3pm but my luggage was an another story.  After taking a short flight to LA Ceiba (our headquarter town), I met up with the group.  It is always nice getting together with colleagues that I have not seen in a year and meeting the new doc too.  My bags arrived at midnight, which was a relief. This morning I was able to go down to the water and go for a swim in the 80 degree ocean.  At 1pm today, Sunday the 24th, the Olanchito (my clinic town) group will leave for the three hour drive up to this mountain town.  More later.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Honduras 2012

Dear All,
In March of this year I again volunteered as a physician with the Hackett-Hemwall Foundation (HHF) in Honduras. Every year, I look forward to donating my time in this third work county. The foundation takes over 100 physicians and volunteers each year to Honduras. These physicians come from the US and around the world not only to treat the local people but to be taught the art of Prolotherapy. We also invite several Honduran Medical Physicians who are doing their residency training to join us.
Prolotherapy is an injection technique that requires skill and training. The two weeks begins with an eight hour day of lectures in which I gave a one hour lecture on the knee. Then we move off to each of the three towns to set up the clinics. The HHF has three clinics in Honduras and I was the co-Director of the Olanchito clinic, a small town in the mountains where we use a local community center as our clinic.
Every day there are many people lined up waiting for us as we arrive at the clinic at 8am. we see between 60-90 patients a day. People come from all over to have their joints treated. In one of the eight individual 'rooms' (loose term since in my clinic we have sheets hung from metal tubing as the framework) there are two 'student' physicians and one supervisor physician. The other co-director and I either supervised in one area each or moved around the treatment areas to help out wherever we were needed.
The days go by fast. Each day at noon we take a break and give a one hour lecture and a demonstration of treating an area of the body. By 5:30 or 6pm, after seeing between 60-80 pts, the day is done. It is then off to dinner and back to the hotel for the night. The mid weekend we go over to a resort island off the coast of Honduras for a break. Then it is back for another week's work. All in all, the experience is always very enjoyable and rewarding.
Treating those in need and teaching others is very special for me. The patients come from near and far and sometimes take days to get to us. They then line up early and wait many hours to be treated. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in all of the Americas and the people subsist on very little. Every year, they are always very grateful for all we offer. Seeing how we can make a difference in their lives is something that I cherish.
The HHF (www.hacketthemwall.org) is the nation's leading educational and teaching organization for Prolotherapy. It is run by two very special and dedicated people: Dr Jeff Patterson, the Medical Director and Mary Doherty, the Director of Operations. Their commitment to the foundation and to the Honduras Project is unparalleled. I am very proud to be associated with them not only in Honduras, but as an instructor/lecturer at the only US based Medical School course on Prolotherapy held annually at the University of Wisconsin Medical School.
If you would like to donate items or volunteer, please see below.
Yours truly,
Peter A. Fields, MD DC
The Athletic DocSM and Ironman Triathlete
Board Certified Medical Physician and Chiropractor
Prolotherapy/PRP/Bone Marrow-Stem Cell
Orthopedic & Sports Medicine/Integrative Health
Donations and volunteers are always welcome.
If you would like to volunteer your time or have any other questions please contact Mary Doherty at: mdoherty@wisc.edu
There is also a page on their website to donate:http://www.hacketthemwall.org/HHF/Donate_to_the_HHF.html
They have 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS so donations may be tax deductible.
Common things that are needed:
Basic medical supplies - gloves, bandages, syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, gauze, surgical instruments (hemostats, forceps, scissors)
Non-prescription drugs that will not be expired until after March 2013.  (we cannot take expired medication or opened bottles/boxes):  Acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, rehydration packets, etc
Basic School supplies - crayons, paper, pencils, pens, rulers, spiral notebooks, markers, scissors, glue, etc. Wheelchairs

All supplies should be shipped to: Hackett Hemwall Foundation - Honduras project c/o Chet's Car Care Center 2020 Aberg Avenue Madison, WI 53704
To read more about my trip go to:http://fieldsmddc.blogspot.com/