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May 07

AAMC staff and HELPS International – changing the lives of children and families in South America

This February, Lynn Buckingham, R.N., John Avallone, M.D., Walter Scott, S.T., and Stephanie Thompson, R.N. arrived in Rio Hondo, Guatemala to spend five days providing surgical care to a needy population. This is now their third medical relief trip with HELPS International, a non-profit organization working in Central America to alleviate poverty by providing services ranging from medical care to agricultural and educational improvement programs.

Their team specializes in providing surgery to children and adults who have strabismus, a medical condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned with each other. Without surgery, many children and adults face a lifetime of challenges.

The team they were working with this year consisted of general and plastic surgeons, primary medical doctors, podiatrists, dentists, and many fantastic nurses. As a whole, they performed 174 surgeries and attended to 1,384 patients in five days. In addition, a construction team traveling with them installed 65 stoves and water filters for families in the surrounding community.