KRB Update #2181 – Screening
Keith R. Brinkman 10 September 2012
Greetings from the nation of Guinea, port and capital city of Conakry. In one day alone over 4,300 people came to the People’s Palace, site of our surgical screening. Most of the entire crew were involved in this our largest event for the field service. I had the privilege to be the main gate keeper for the patients and caregivers. I tried to greet everyone who came in and with the assistance of my dayworker inquired how many cards they need. In total 3,454 cards were given to potential patients. Though, once they shared their medical situation, only 852 continued through the process for possible surgery on the Africa Mercy and an additional 527 for possible eye surgery. It was a long day but so fulfilling, everything went peaceful and the weather cooperated as we are in the midst of rainy season here. I did not try to greet people in the local languages (as I can’t identify the differences yet of the three major tribes), but primarily used my French (and English for those who greeted me in English). After the gates were closed, I went up to the area of the surgeon screening for maxillofacial and plastics/reconstructive. I sat with one of the surgeons and a fellow crew member as they further inquired to see if we could assist with surgery.
Hundreds were scheduled for surgery and others still require testing or further screening prior to being confirmed as good candidates for surgery on board. Last week, the wards opened on Wednesday and the first surgeries on Thursday. It is great to walk the hallways and see and hear patients back in our wards. Lives being transformed. I look forward to the start of the Befriend-a-Patient project and spending time with patients like Ousamne who I met on the first screening day.
Our Guinea Smiles Dental Team also started their screenings which happen twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays all throughout the field service. I served the first couple times to assist with crowd control and to answer questions.
Our Mercy Vision Eye Team will start their screenings primarily for cataract cases for adults and children, but also for pterygium and strabismus for children. A great start to this new field service!!!