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Aloha Medical Mission Heals the Poor in the Philippines

(page 3 of 3)

Web Exclusive

Presented below is a web video produced by Deborah Manog and Bobby Bergonio and exclusive photos by David Croxford.


One of the predominant modes of transportation in the city of Tuguegarao is the small (less than 150cc) scooter. Hardly anyone wears a helmet and the drivers often carry more than one passenger. These scooters are often owned by individuals who offer transportation services for a few pesos.

Wires pepper the skyline on a side street in Tuguegarao.

A doctor examines a young girl whose left ear is badly deformed. The child's earlobe was non-existent and created what the doctor called "bone hearing," a condition where sound vibrates on the ear and creates muffled sounds that the patient learns to adapt to.

Dr. Becky Sawai (right) removes a fist-sized lipoma from the right hip of a man who came to the free clinic. A local anesthetic, lidocaine, was given and the patient was awake during the procedure. He was sent home with minor pain medication immediately following the operation.

Surgical instruments at the ready during an evening procedure. The Aloha Medical Mission team doctors were on rounds at 7 a.m. and often operated until 8 p.m. during the week-long mission.

Doctors made the rounds every morning around 7 a.m., including checking in on patients whose procedures necessitated an overnight stay.

Unlike the equipment found in U.S. hospitals, the instruments in the Philippines can be old and in need of repair. In this photo, an OR nurse from the hospital stands on a stool to reach and hold the OR lamp in the right spot to aid the Aloha Medical Mission surgeons.

The "unicorn child" was one patient who came to the screening. She is 5 years old and the growth between her eyes has penetrated the cranial area, causing learning and speech disabilities. Pediatric doctors from Aloha Medical Mission will seek assistance from fellowships within the U.S. to try and resolve this young girl's condition and provide a more satisfying existence. If help can be found, often the parents and child be brought to the U.S. for medical procedures and expenses are cared for by the fellowship.

For every mission, the doctors must procure the necessary drugs. Dental lidocaine was necessary and purhased through legitimate pharmaceutical suppliers in Tuguearao.

Initially, the father of the young girl was afraid for his daughter's condition and it took some convincing on her behalf that all would be well. Aloha Medical Mission nurse Lolita Ching, far right, counsulted with the family.

As the day develops, operations are listed to keep the Aloha Medical Mission team of doctors and nurses apprised of their tasks. This is from the second day on site.

Aloha Medical Mission surgeons and Tuguegarao anesthesiologist in a lighter moment between surgeries. From left to right: Dr. Ed, the anestheiologist, Dr. Lisa Grininger, Dr. Becky Sawai, Dr. Margaret Lee and Dr. Amy.

The entire team of Aloha Medical Mission doctors, nurses and support staff me with the Rotary Club of Cagayan Valley. The partnership made the mission a success.

A local gynaecologist and Dr. Lisa Grininger discuss techniques during a break.

In the foreground, a waiting pediatric patient watches through a glass window while child patients are assessed. Dr. Maggie Smead from the San Francisco Bay area can be seen through the glass, on the right.

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