Ten-month-old Joseph, his mother and his two-week-old sister, traveled with a relative for four hours on a bus to reach the hospital in San Salvador. There was room in the schedule to add him on, so he was to be operated on that day. He was animated and happy on Wednesday morning while waiting to be seen. Later, he napped on the floor in the hallway waiting for surgery.
The procedure went well, and he was in and out of the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) quickly.
The PACU team took him across a breezeway and up the elevator to the 5th floor for post-op care with nurse Elizabeth Stephens and her team of local nurses and Smiles volunteers. The local nurses care for the patients overnight, but each day Elizabeth is on the 6 am bus to make rounds with the doctors and prepare the patients to be released. She is on the last bus home in the evening, not leaving until she is sure that all the patients from the day’s surgeries are stable.
Thursday morning Joseph was ready to go home and nurse Laura Guerrero walked him out. He was a popular baby among the volunteers – even our driver wanted to hold him for a picture.