This past November, two ProMedica physicians and one pharmacist took the ProMedica mission of health and well-being to a global level. Drs. Jay Jindal, Richard Nelson, and pharmacist Dr. Hamid Sheikhi joined with 17 other volunteers on a mission trip to serve Nicaragua’s most impoverished communities.
Dr. Jindal first learned of International Samaritan when his sons attended a high school mission trip. His sons reported a phenomenal experience and Dr. Jindal was inspired to help. He noted, “After meeting with the organization’s founder, Father Don Vettese, and learning of their mission to serve those living in the garbage dump communities of the world, I wanted to be of assistance in their goal.”
When an opportunity arose a few years later, Dr. Jindal recruited Drs. Nelson and Sheikhi to volunteer as part of the organization’s latest medical brigade.
Dr. Sheikhi said, “When Dr. Jindal presented me with this opportunity, I was excited. I wanted to venture out to a developing country and help the less fortunate. My purpose was to help these people know that there are people out there who care for their well-being.”
During the mission, medical care was given to hundreds of people near Nicaragua’s capital of Managua. People were treated for a range of medical issues. Dr. Jindal noted, “The most common problems were gastrointestinal diseases due to unsanitary drinking water. For many of the patients treated, it was the first time in their life they had ever seen a healthcare professional.”
Sheikhi added, “The treatments they received can prevent health issues from becoming more severe in the future.”
Providing care in rural areas, away from medical resources, created some unique challenges. For example, the team treated a pregnant woman with a urinary tract infection. With no means to access the gestational age of the child and a limited selection of antibiotics, a crucial decision had to be made. Between Drs. Jindal and Sheikhi, the correct medication and dosage were prescribed. As the only pharmacist on the trip, Sheikhi was also able to consult the individual on her medication through a translator. Sheikhi explained, “Providing the right medications and counseling to these patients was very rewarding.”
As a traveling medical brigade, patient volumes only allowed a short amount of time to be dedicated to each person. However, the team was able to treat over 1,200 people in just four days. Drs. Jindal and Sheikhi both expressed admiration for everyone’s teamwork. The team consisted of four physicians, two dentists, two nurses, one pharmacist and logistics support staff. Jindal stated, “Figuring out a systematic flow of everyone was a challenge, but we simply had to make it happen. It was amazing how quickly we learned to work together.”
Sheikhi also noted, “Everyone was there for a purpose. They didn’t do it for praise, but for the genuine concern. It wasn’t long before it felt like everyone had known each other for a long time. The common mindset amongst the volunteers served as the catalyst for improving so many lives. Even when the weather was muggy or we were swamped with patients, the team remained determined. You think you go to help these people but it actually touches you very much.”
When asked if they would go again, all three responded “Absolutely.”
International Samaritan runs medical missions at least once each year. Find more information here.
This content was written and distributed by ProMedica on March 6, 2015 and has been shared here with the author’s permission. To view the original article, click here.