Aeromedicos of Santa Barbara
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Volunteer Medical and Dental Missions to Mexico

January 2007


The weather forecast predicted rain, but Friday morning was clear and cold. Five planes entered thru Puerto Penasco and one via Ensenada. The return trip was slowed by head winds, but otherwise uneventful, except for the passengers who flew in planes without heaters.


There were an unusually large number of people waiting to be seen upon our arrival Saturday morning. The cold weather had also extended into Baja and there were a great deal of coughs and colds on top of the regular clinic traffic. A young man of 20 years was brought to the clinic in a coma due to a fall from a horse. Dr McFarland decided that the young man, Abrahaim Aguila, needed to be seen in a hospital situation, asap. Ross Rankin volunteered to fly and left for La Paz immediately, with Erin Sparks, Dr. McFarland and Abrahaim. We phoned ahead by sat phone and an ambulance was waiting upon arrival. The tower at La Paz held an Alaskan air flight to expedite Ross and the passengers in a speedy landing. A Red Cross ambulance efficiently received the patient and transported him to the hospital. We are happy to report that the patient is conscious and eating on his own, but so far is unable to speak.

Myra Cochran, Marilyn Enns, the EMT crew, and the translators efficiently handled the rest of the afternoon. Approximately 40 medical patients were seen.


The dental clinic saw 54 patients, and had to reschedule 7. Thanks to George Pallo for the triage. All the emergencies were seen and a complete range of services was provided, including denture deliveries and impressions by Dr. Carl Gilmore. Dr. Dart did most of the fillings and Dr. Grube the extractions. Erica Carter polished and cleaned teeth while Larry Cochran was a Jack-of-all-trades. Did we mention the main generator failed? The back up generator did not have enough juice to run every thing so Larry ran around turning off compressors and other loads so that we could sterilize and operate the suction as needed. What a great team and a very productive day in spite of the adverse conditions.


Bonnie Rettegers, with Susan Grube interpreting, saw the audiology patients in a quiet home up the street and all was going well until the generator failure. Unfortunately, some patients were not able to be tested by Bonnie on this trip due to this problem. Our back-up generator was lost in the September flood. If any one could do so, please donate a small and quiet portable generator for the audiology clinic.


Pilots: Larry Cochran, Jim Gaskin, John Grube, Frank Heinz, Ross Rankin, Ted Kenney
Audiology: Bonnie Rettegers
MD: Eric McFarland Nurse
Practitioner: Myra Cochran
RN: Erin Sparks
Clinic Coordinator: Marilyn Enns
Translators: Brad Chemelka, Teresita, Dale Dixon, Susan Grube, George Pallo
EMTs: Sandy Burney, Mike Nizec
Helpers: Anna Hume, Hope Howard, Margo Kenney, Jean Wheeler
Dentists: Carl Gilmore, David Dart, John Grube
Dental Assistants: Ruth Ann Quarles, Melodi Willis
Dental Helpers: Erica Carter, Larry Cochran


Next trip will be February 9th. The preptrip potluck will be Wednesday, January 31st at the home of Mary and Silvio DiLoreto. Click here for details »

February volunteers, call Melodi at (805) 736-7123.

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