Creating Smiles, Improving Lives

Guatemala City mission – Day 1

Hello from Guatemala City! The team’s all here! Day 1 started bright and early as we gathered for breakfast at 6:15AM before making our way to the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center (MPSC) where the entire MPSC team greeted us outside. We had a quick tour of the facility and overview of the week ahead before the teams split up to tackle their jobs.

First up is the triage room located on the ground floor. This is where patients go when they first arrive. An RN will check the child’s blood pressure, temperature, pulse, oxygen saturation, height, weight, and look for any sign of fever.

Taking vitals in initial triage

Mary and Claudia take the vitals of a patient.

Volunteers help organize the patients and their mothers into lines in the hallway. From there, they are ushered into their second stop – another triage room down the hall where our mission directors and plastic surgeons convene to set the surgery schedule for the week. For any other Austin Smiles trip-newbies, day 1 is where each child is brought in for assessment by the surgery team. They determine if the child is a good candidate, assess what medical treatment is needed, and lastly schedule the child for one of the following surgery days. It might sound simple but there are about 120 kids + their families here. It’s a very controlled chaos!

listening to heart beat in triage

Dr. Barnes listening to the heartbeat.

Thomas the charmer in triage

Dr. Crawford and Anthony being charmed by Thomas.

Triage dream team

Dr. Figueroa,  Leilani, and Mary Jane keeping records and managing the surgery schedule.

Other volunteers are in the front courtyard entertaining the siblings and other family members who are waiting. We have a coloring table, face painting station, bubble machine, and quite a few accomplished balloon animal creators.
Coloring in the courtyard

Tom hanging out at the coloring table.

If you make your way upstairs you will find the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) and OR (operating room) teams unpacking one of the 20+ crates we hauled through the airport. They are setting up their stations for the 4 full days of surgery ahead. We have a team of anesthesiologists, RNs, and surgical technicians running the show. This facility has 3 operating rooms and all need to be prepared. After we head out tonight, these rooms will be sterilized and ready to go for the first surgery tomorrow at 7:35AM. 

Two of the many duffle bags and crates that we brought to Guatemala.


Stack of scrubs ready for the week.

Anthesthesiologists setting up

Corey and Dr. Mary prepping their anesthesia setup.

PACU bed

PACU bed ready for tomorrow.

I’ve heard some really wonderful stories today and am excited to share them with you over the next few days. Stay tuned!

-Your blogger for the week, Kelsey

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