Mission: Guatemala

Mission Facts

  • Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala

  • Population: 1,022,000

  • Dates: 03/11/2017 - 03/18/2017

  • Surgeons: Dr. Henry Rice, Dr. Sherry Ross

  • Focus: General, Laparoscopy, and Urology

  • Complexity: Medium

  • Training: Medium

  • Average Mended: 60

Mission Brief

Where in the World
The Mending Kids mission to Guatemala each year is a shining example of our on-going commitment to provide life-changing and life-saving help to the children of a nation still recovering from a civil war nearly 20 years ago. In a country where nearly half of its population is under the age of 18, many Guatemalan families lack access to healthcare services, as there are currently only 16,000 physicians for the entire population.

Our young patients and their families come from all over Guatemala, enduring long walks from their mountain villages to reach roads accessible to transportation into the city. Families have been known to commute up to 10 hours to receive surgical care from our teams.

Healthcare in Guatemala
Guatemala has some of the highest infant mortality rate and lowest life expectancies in the Central American region. Many Guatemalans lack access to healthcare services, as there are currently only 16,000 physicians for the entire population.

The Mission
Mending Kids continues its partnership with The Shalom Foundation’s Moore Pediatric Surgery Center (MPSC) in Guatemala City to provide general and urology procedures. This mission is co-lead by Dr. Henry Rice from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC and Dr. Sherry Ross from UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, NC, to provide expert care for children suffering from congenital defects of the male and female urinary tract system and the male reproductive organs.

Sharing health care knowledge and skills is a crucial building block toward establishing surgical sustainability in Guatemala and to mending more children beyond the scope of just our mission. Dr. Rice and Dr. Ross impart advanced training to Guatemalan surgical residents on techniques in pediatric laparoscopy and urology. Laparoscopy is a surgical procedures in which a fiber-optic instrument is inserted to view organs and permit a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Our exchanges of knowledge extends to anesthesia which consistently include training local Guatemalan anesthesiology residents on proper anesthesia protocols and quality improvement systems, providing children a safer surgical and postoperative recovery.

Progress and Goals
Dr. Rice received a generous donation from KARL STORZ, a global manufacturer and distributor of medical instruments and devices, for laparoscopy equipment to be used for surgical procedures at MPSC. Today, all visiting surgical teams now have access to this equipment to aid in their procedures for the children of Guatemala.

In 2015, Dr. Rice and his colleague Dr. Obinna Adibe, brought together Guatemalan surgeons from across the country, for a 3-day training seminar teaching laparoscopic techniques, while Dr. Ross trained surgeons on techniques in urological surgeries. Dr. Ross also established a mission-to-mission system to refer complex surgical cases to future surgical teams traveling to MPSC. Increased communication between visiting surgical teams throughout the year allows for advanced care for our children.

In addition to the Mending Kids Mission, Guatemalan surgeons Dr. Gustavo Perez and Dr. Daniela Palencian, were awarded a surgical resident observership, with sponsorship from Mending Kids, to visit Duke University in North Carolina. The visiting doctors observed surgical procedures for an entire month, learning from our surgeons and anesthesiologists advanced standards of practice and skills in patient bedside manners.

Interested Volunteers
Although this missions has already occurred this year, we would love for you to join us next year! If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact molly@mendingkids.org. The team fee for this mission is $3000 and will require a deposit of $500 to hold your spot.

Change the life of a child today, by donating to help Guatemalan children in need of specialty surgical care lead a happier, healthier life.

Publications and Presentations
Gulack BC, Heydari S, Solis-Sanabria C, Figueroa L, Tew S, Madden-Fuentes R, Taicher BM, Ross SS, Boyd D, Hall-Clifford R, Rice HE. Ranking and rating analyses of barriers to surgical care for children in Guatemala. Pan American Journal of Public Health (Submitted).

Tew S, Gulack BC, Hernandez Diaz EM, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. Implementation of a simplified universal protocol in Guatemala. World Journal of Surgery (In preparation).

Tew, S, Pecorella SRH, Taicher BM. Knowledge and Understanding of the Role of an Anesthesiologist in Guatemala. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2015.

Pecorella SRH, Neifeld JL, Zucco SE, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. PONV Prophylaxis in a Resource Constrained Environment. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2015.

Tew S, Funk EM, Neifeld J, Gulack BC, Madden-Fuentes R, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. Retrograde Light-Guided Laryngoscopy: A Useful Teaching Technique for Beginners. Duke Anesthesiology Academic Evening, 2014.

Tew S, Funk EM, Neifeld J, Gulack BC, Madden-Fuentes R, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. “Sombrero Azul:” Implementing the Universal Protocol in a Developing Country. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2014.

Tew S, Funk EM, Neifeld J, Gulack BC, Madden-Fuentes R, Ross SS, Rice HE, Taicher BM. Effectiveness and Validity of Subjective vs. Objective Pain Scoring on a Medical Mission to Guatemala. Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Annual Meeting, 2014.

Nguyen K, Bhattacharya SD, Maloney MJ, Figueroa L, Taicher BM, Ross S, Rice HE. Self-reported barriers to pediatric surgical care in Guatemala. Sept 2013. The American Surgeon. Vol 79: 885-888.

Mission Map