In June, two of our founders traveled to Camotan to work alongside our dental and medical residents in Camotan Clinic. Dr. Joel Strohecker and Dr. Jovita Toledo are two of the founders of Camotan Clinic. In June they traveled with one medical school applicant, Tdag Forward to Camotan for a week of work. For Dr. Strohecker and Dr. Toledo, there are few things more enjoyable than working hard in the clinic they started. Daily about twenty dental and twenty five medical patients came in for medical care. All of these patients receive quality care with equipment hard to come by in rural Guatemala. The dental clinic does fillings, cleanings, extractions and more with modern day materials. In the medical clinic, ultrasound and other technologies hard to come by in Guatemala, are used to assist diagnosis and treatment (see below).
Dr. Strohecker uses an ultrasound to diagnose gallstones on a patient with medical resident Dr. Maria Jose Solis: Guatemalan medical resident (R) and Salome Betancourth: one of our translators (L). The patient was referred to a surgeon in Chiquimula (the closest city, roughly an hour away).
Our pharmacy has supplies and medications for our clinic patients and for our mobile mountain clinics. Additionally we often give medications and supplies to the local health center that is severely under funded and short on supplies.
Two days were spent in the mountains at a rural mountain clinic as well. If you read our blogs, you know that these mountain clinics usually host 75-200 patients daily seeking care. Our mountain clinics are essential. As often mentioned here, most of the people in the rural mountain communities have no vehicle and no means to come to the clinic. They can walk to Camotan Clinic which some of them do. But heat and the significant elevation change make a walk to Camotan challenging for even young, healthy patients. In fact, many of the older patients far back in the mountains have never even been down off their mountain to the village of Camotan. It is truly amazing. There are mountain “taxis” which transport 20+ people in the back of pickups (standing up) but many cannot afford even this transport mode and it can be dangerous (these trucks can tip over and when they do, many get injured or die). So, we go to them.
Salome Betancourth (L) and Tadg Forward (R) work in the pharmacy of one of our mountain clinics in June.
It is much work to pull off a mountain clinic. We have talked about this here before. Truckloads of supplies are taken in suitcases far into the mountains on treacherous dirt roads. Some villages are an hour away from Camotan (and the people get poorer and poorer the further one goes). Once we see patients, we treat what can be treated there but then those who need follow up care are logged in a follow up ledger and are referred to the clinic for ongoing treatment.
Dr. Maria Jose Solis visits with a family in one of our remote mountain clinics (we usually set these clinics up in government built school houses like one can see here).
Tadg Forward (L) a volunteer and Dr. Toledo (R) count pills, prep charts and prepare for the next clinic day.
Dr. Strohecker uses a Woods Lamp to diagnose a corneal abrasion on a patient. The patient was able to be treated with eye drops and ocular antibiotics through the clinic. Many of these patients would otherwise never receive this level of care (nor could they afford any medications). Every day patients like this are treated in Camotan Clinic who otherwise would have been left untreated.
Thank you so much for reading! We continue to grow. Patients often seek the quality of care we provide from far away. None of this would be possible without the support, concern, prayers and donations from all of you. So thank you!