Amarillo medical professionals help over 1,000 patients in Guatemala

Amarillo medical professionals help over 1,000 patients in Guatemala

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - 12 medical professionals from Amarillo were able to treat more than 1,000 patients in Guatemala over a four day span.

They had some sponsorships from the First Baptist Church, then paid the rest of their way themselves.

They worked with Buckner International, which is known for its work with foster children. Buckner provided the facilities for the medical professionals.

Amarillo medical professionals helped over 1,000 patients in Guatemala. Image Source: Chris Ruth with Buckner International
Amarillo medical professionals helped over 1,000 patients in Guatemala. Image Source: Chris Ruth with Buckner International

“We turned some of their classrooms into clinic exam rooms. We turned one of the rooms that they had into a pharmacy, and we kind of took over the entire compound,” said Dr. John Slaton, the residency program director at Texas Tech.

Dr. Slaton mentioned a moment he will not forget, as he was working with a patient who was having severe shoulder pain.

She was the sole provider for her five children and could no longer afford pain medication. She was given a shot for her arthritis and had then regained motion.

“She was crying, and it was very memorable. It’s just one of those things where you never really realize how much of an impact you can make, just by doing something that we consider to be so little here in the states, and it ended up being a big moment for her,” said Dr. Slaton.

They were able to learn from the experience by seeing some things not typically seen in the United States.

Doctors were also able to teach patients about the importance for women to get checked for cervical cancer, as it is not as common in Guatemala due to cultural beliefs.

Amarillo medical professionals helped over 1,000 patients in Guatemala. Image Source: Chris Ruth with Buckner International
Amarillo medical professionals helped over 1,000 patients in Guatemala. Image Source: Chris Ruth with Buckner International

“We saw, like we said, a lot of moms bringing in children just to make sure they were okay, considering the fact that they don’t have access to a lot of care," said Dr. Slaton.

They also took the opportunity to teach families about basic hygiene in locations with minimal water or with poorly filtered water. No mater what stage in their medical career, they seemed to enjoy the experience.

“Ever since I was a medical student, I’ve been doing trips every other year to every year, and this opportunity came up and some residents and medical students were interested in going, and so it seemed like a perfect opportunity,” said M.D. Ellen Hampsten, an associate professor at Texas Tech Family Medicine.

Students, professors and medical professionals here at Texas Tech hope to have this international program every year, as they already started a waiting list that is growing for the next trip.

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