A Week in the Life of a Mission

Usually, a one-week mission begins months in advance with the credentialing of personnel and authorization of the mission through local authorities and the Ecuadorian government. Our Ecuadorian hosting organizations (Rotary Club of Latacunga, Fundacion Solidaria de Orellana in Coca, and Fundacion Tierra Nueva in Quito) are involved at this point, working with local officials and hospitals to clear our trip and secure an institution where we can effectively complete our work. They also manage patient recruitment and triage, mostly via print and radio advertising, as well as notices in the local hospitals and health centers.

Back in the States, we work on requisition of supplies, some salvaged and recycled or re-sterilized, others donated or purchased. This goes into high gear two months before we depart.

Saturday – Team members travel to Ecuador and arrive Sunday morning

Sunday – Surgeons, anesthesia staff and therapists evaluate all potential patients in a full-day clinic. 200 – 250 patients may be evaluated this day. Only those who will benefit from surgery and don’t present undue surgical risk are scheduled. Operating schedule is created for about 80 – 100 individuals that week.

While the clinic takes place, the nursing staff and other team members unpack supplies and prepare the operating rooms.

Monday through Friday – 7 AM – 9 PM, Surgery

Saturday – Follow-up clinic. All patients are evaluated and post-operative plans formulated, especially for those who might require additional services after our team departs. These include some of the hand and burn patients, as well as some cleft lip and palate patients who may require speech services. Local physicians and therapists provide these services, and they’re given a printed list of patients and plans. Email communications are used as needed to provide feedback and support.

Sunday – Return home.

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In the loving memory of

Dr. Stephen Pap

Cofounder, Plastic and Hand Surgeon 9/29/1963 – 3/12/2013

Dr. Pap died at the age of 49 from ALS. Hands Across the World remembers his dedicated work and love of his charity.