Tuesday, February 12, 2019 – Establishing a Rhythm
Photography by : Ellise Nicole Photography
Written by : Susan Armstrong

By day 3, El Salvador Austin Smiles volunteers have gotten into a rhythm. We operated on eleven new patients today, from cleft lip repair to rhinoplasty. We learned that the part of the hospital that we’re working in is not regularly used by the Military Hospital, but was used in World War II as the emergency room to treat soldiers. Despite some limitations, our volunteers have done a wonderful job of turning their area into an Operating Room to suit their needs.

Our volunteers are able to respond to all types of situations. For example, nurses and surgeons adapt to working with different equipment than they’re used to in the United States. The PACU nurses and anesthesiologists respond to each individual patient’s post-operation reactions until they are ready to be moved to Post-Op Care. Post-Op must treat responses to the Operations that might appear several hours or even the next day after they have been stabilized.

The people here have been so appreciative of Austin Smiles work. Their families take photos of the volunteers that have helped them, say thank you repeatedly, and beam ear to ear. They are so patient as they wait for hours for their or their loved one’s name to be called in a crowded hallway of the military hospital. The volunteers leave the hospital each day feeling incredibly appreciated.