Sunday came early, flying and being in transit for nearly 27 hours takes a toll on anyone. Got up around midnight Sunday morning, wrote the blog I published yesterday and caught up on some other work.
Went to breakfast and met some members of the Duke medical team, Richard one of the two perfusionists, Waz the anesthesiologist and Andrew the surgeon (or as Waz call him “the slasher”). I like these guys already.
Arrived at the hospital, snapped some pics (you’ve seen them on Facebook if you are a friend), and took a tour. My collegue on this trip noted, “This is not like any hospital at home.” No it’s not. It’s open and older but Philippines Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) serves an important purpose as evident as we walked by a line of people, children in tow, waiting to see the medical team for exam and evaluation.
The set up for the examinations is not what we have in the US – it took place in a conference room, sectioned off with 8 foot high dividers. The doctors were using a less than optimally lit board to look at x-rays and an ultrasound machine (top notch) to view the heart and complete their exams. From time to time the lights would go flicker on and off for no apparent reason.
I took the opportunity to see the exams close up, the ultrasound with red and blue colors and listen to the doctors as they talked about each of the patients. While I did not understand exactly what they were seeing or talking about it was astounding to realize this is where technology, knowledge and experience meet to save lives.
The morning was a series of evaluations and discussions about each of the children and the prognosis for each operation. Other parts of the Duke team, not involved in the exams, toured the facility. The operating room nurses reviewed paperwork, counted supplies sent in advance and prepared for the next day. The post op ICU nurses prepared their areas for Monday after the first surgeries were completed.
For the rest of us, we talked to and provided support for the families waiting with their children. It was joyous because the future was bright for the kids. It was heartbreaking because of how young the kids were and how, without this mission and program, they may not survive into their teens.
What was clear was the advance preparation that took place to get the Duke medical team here and immediately get to work. The coordination and logistics of people, supplies and funding engaged more people than anyone of us could imagine.
It was evident this is a highly skilled team of dedicated men and women have a laser like focus on saving these children’s lives and giving them an opportunity for a better, fuller lifes. They work in tandem with each other without wasted time or words, always focused on the mission and the outcome.
Once again, we are the ground forces, the soldiers, and the actioneers (my word!) fulfilling the plan, completing the vision.
Remember, life is precious. To all my friends reading this, get out, lend a hand and be an actioneer!
PS – While my writings seem tactical and emotionless with a bent to planning, process and execution (which they are) what I have not written about is the emotional side of this – check out Day 2 and see the other side, the emotional side, the people side which is just as important, if not more important than the tactical side to this mission, our mission and my personal mission.