we can make a difference by Jaeyi Hahn

크기변환_79Upon arrival in Guatemala, we were already at a loss with most of the medical equipment missing and delayed along with the team coming from South Korea, which included the nurses and Dr. DongHae Kim. Exhausted from a short and restless flight, we nevertheless kept our goal in mind and went to the hospital to drop off the goods that we did have.
Arriving at the hospital, it was evident that conditions would be difficult with a clear dichotomy between a hospital in Guatemala and that of one in America. There was an absence of air conditioning, low quality of sterilization, and cramped conditions. Our twentyperson
bus filled to its maximum with boxes and boxes of food and medication and our medical team, we stopped at what was to be our daytime and nighttime job for the next several days, the Niño de Jesus Children’s Hospital in Guatemala City.
The second day arrived and we had a predicament. The team members from Korea had yet to arrive because their flight was delayed multiple times. Unfortunately, this meant we did not have some of the necessary equipment to begin surgeries that day. Confused and frustrated because
of our plans and scheduling falling apart, the hospital was chaotic and hectic for the first several hours with people not accustomed to their duties and misguided due to such a hectic environment. Still, we went forward with what we could with our plans and madedo with thanks
to our skilled and talented ophthalmologists Dr. Edward Lee and Dr. Andrew Cho who were able to make the minimal diagnoses without the medical equipment. Luckily, the Koreabased team finally arrived midway through the day and we were finally able to move forward with the
patients that arrived. Once again an issue had arisen, one crucial instrument for surgery was absent because of a mishap with air transportation, but in response we were able to use what was at our disposal and made the necessary adjustments to begin surgery. As the week went on, we treated patients of many ages from the elderly to young children with some having minor issues with their eyes and only needed glasses, which is fantastic for them because they are healthy and do not need any surgery. For those who required surgery, there were fiftyfive successful operation on about thirty patients for cataract surgery and other types of surgery such as removal of a carcinoma and eyelid surgeries. The following day these
크기변환_2 (2)patients all returned for postoperational checks and had their surgeries end up very successfully and went home with smiles on their faces. The medical trip to Guatemala was truly enlightening and exposed the wonderful gift of vision and how it can alter the lives of those who have been devoid of it for so long. With the smiles on their faces and tears in their now well and healed eyes, the patients who for so long had suffered through blindness could finally see their loved ones again. It truly shows that even through our small and shorttermed hard work we can make a difference in someone’s life by giving them one of the best gifts a human can have, vision. That is a true lesson that comes from Vision Care Services.

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