SAMC Surgical Team Travels to Honduras

By: Lauren St. Germain Email
By: Lauren St. Germain Email

A team from the Southeast Alabama Medical Center is treating patients far beyond the realms of the Wiregrass. It was a volunteer and donation based trip with the help of Baptist Medical Dental Mission International and the First Baptist Church in Bonifay.

“You know people ask…there are so many things you can do here in the United States, why go to a foreign country?” said Dr. Allen McCool, Urologist at Southeast Alabama Medical Center.

There is one doctor, in a run-down hospital and operating rooms stuffed with multiple beds. They have no access to clean drinking water.

“They just have no medical care, they have no access to medical care,” said Dr. McCool.

That’s just the reason a surgical team led by General Surgeon Dr. Randall Nichols and Urology Surgeon Dr. Allen McCool took a week long trip from SAMC and the Wiregrass to Honduras. They performed about 50 operations ranging from prostate surgery to trauma to pediatric surgery.

“The little girl who fell out of the mango tree, she had cut the inside of her nose and had sort of cut it open all the way to the top of her lip,” said Angie Taylor, scrub nurse at SAMC.

Team members were not just operating. For the past 5 years, Stephen Taylor has traveled down to re-vamp the hospital.

“You had lights that had probably 20-year old surgical lighting in them. A lot of the equipment there had been donated by other facilities over the years so it was some of the older stuff,” said Stephen Taylor, plant manager.

By the time this group left, they were putting the finishing touches on 4 new operating rooms. This was all to give people with the bare minimum a fighting chance.

“I had one patient that left on a horse after a prostate surgery and it had taken him 11 hours to get there. We had patients that took buses, walked, or hitch-hiked. It could have taken them a day to get there,” said Dr. McCool.

So why a foreign country, why not the United States? Doctors say one week away is nothing and gives them 51-weeks here at home.

For more information on how to be involved in the next trip, contact David Lauen with the First Baptist Church of Bonifay. He can be reached at 850-326-0097.

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