The Rus Rus Hospital has been privileged to once again host a medical team from International Health Service (IHS). IHS has been sending medical teams to the far reaches of Honduras for nearly 30 years and has committed to make Rus Rus an annual venue for its international volunteer teams. The team members might change each year, but one thing is certain – when the word gets out that IHS is arriving with a cadre of doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and possibly a surgeon, people will come. And come they did!
This year IHS brought an 11 member team that was joined by several MAG staff members and even some helpers from the village. MAG pilot Westley Wiles and Head Nurse Geraldina Coleman, along with some of our national hospital workers, were key to the success of the mission – to say nothing of Denise Wiles who hosted and fed everyone! MAG volunteer Carlos Paz did all the Spanish translation. He was joined by Alfredo Perez, from Rus Rus, who translated into Miskito for those who didn't speak Spanish. Over the course of 8 clinic days held from February 14 through February 22, entire families walked (some for up to 2 days each way) to receive medical and dental care. All care was given at no charge to the patients. The entire village of Rus Rus got involved, even opening their homes to give travelers from other villages places to sleep and cook.
The numbers for the 2012 brigade looked like this:
Adult Medical visits=494
Pediatric Medical visits=389
for a total of 1269 patient visits.
Other interesting statistics were: Pharmacists filled 3677 prescriptions. The Dentist pulled 654 teeth. Eyeglasses were given out to 113 people, and 27 patients received medical referrals for more advanced evaluation or care out of the area. Some of them were transported by MAG, at IHS expense, to receive follow-up care.
Several on the IHS team had been to Rus Rus the previous year, noting that 2012 saw slightly smaller numbers of patients, but far more serious cases. Several critical cases required emergency medical flights by MAG pilot Westley Wiles, which were directly responsible for saving their lives! One case was a gunshot victim with an abdominal wound who arrived in the middle of the night. He would not have survived the night if IHS had not been there to stabilize him and had MAG not been able to fly in a surgeon from another IHS team in another village to the north. Another case was a young expectant mother who needed to be flown out for an emergency C-section. Still another was a 3-month old baby boy named Marcello who was sick, severely malnourished, and near death. (He weighed 7 pounds.) Marcello and another little patient named Grelis, a 2-month old girl in respiratory distress, had to be flown to another hospital to receive higher-level care. Last report is that both survived and are doing very well!
Commentary: These cases only highlight the urgency of MAG's placing a full-time doctor on staff at the Rus Rus Hospital. The overall goal is for the Rus Rus Hospital to become the regional provider of consistent, ongoing care to the estimated 25,000 Miskito people living in this remote area along the Rio Coco – ongoing care being augmented by periodic specialist care (from groups like IHS). Our goal is to see that an annual IHS medical brigade is NOT the ONLY time these folks can see a doctor.