Aeromedicos of Santa Barbara
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Volunteer Medical and Dental Missions to Mexico


TRIP NOTES:  Five planes made the December trip. Three flew from Santa Barbara, one from Mulege,  and one, with pilot Mike Nizec and Elwood Schapansky as pilot instructor, left from San Diego. This was Mike’s first trip to Baja in a new plane and Elwood was along to mentor and entertain. Mike commented after the trip, “Elwood is awesome”. All planes stayed on the Cadeje side.  The weather was good in both directions, but the return was a bit of an adventure for the two planes clearing into Brown Field.   John Grube, who had picked up two docs and a translator at Brown field, and Mike Nizec, were asked to land at Tijuana to await the clearance of a plane that had landed gear up on runway 26 R at Brown.  Runway 26 L was also under repair.

MEDICAL NOTES :   The medical clinic was busy.  However, with three docs, two EMTs, a great translator, and the direction of  Marilyn Enns, the flow went well. The following note is from Dr. Asa Morton, who along with Dr. Amanda Grossman, made their first trip to Cadeje:
             I recently enjoyed the opportunity to attend an Aeromédico mission to Cadeje.  I was a fish out of water in my role working in the medical clinic.  As an ophthalmologist and facial plastic surgeon, it has been some time since I’ve listened to people’s general medical concerns.  Fortunately, my section was led by an ER doc, Eric McFarland, who was able to answer all my questions and guide me when needed (frequently).
            I was able to use my training on one case.  A 14 year old girl came in with a mass that had been growing on her eyelid for several months.  It turned out to be a chalazion, more commonly known as a stye.  Under local anesthesia, I removed it in the clinic “operating room”.  This girl also has glaucoma and has received treatment in La Paz.  She recently had an operation there to lower the pressure in her right eye.  This was done to preserve her vision, which has started to decline due to the effect of elevated pressure on her optic nerve.  She has been told that she needs the operation in the other eye but the family is unable to afford the surgery.  Working with Aeromédicos and Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, we are hoping to come up with a solution to assist the family.
            It was also a very special weekend to visit Idel Mesa and Angel Aguilar.  Through the combined efforts of Aeromédicos and Fresh Start they have each had very needed reconstructive surgery in San Diego.  On Friday night Angel and his wife cooked a very special meal for the group.  My favorite dish was the abalone soup.  On Saturday night Idel’s family hosted a fiesta.  The shrimp, lobster, calamari, and fish were unbelievable and bountiful.  The home-made tortillas and beans were a delight.  It was very humbling to share meals with these wonderful families.
            I feel fortunate to have worked with the Aeromédico group and the cast of characters committed to helping this village.  I believe that laughter is powerful medicine and I had a well-needed and healthy dose!

DENTAL NOTES :  After a quick cleanup and re-stocking, the clinic was ready to see patients. Dr. John Grube, assisted by Larry Cochran, kept busy all day drilling, filling, and extracting.  Newcomer Dr. Kevin Miller did a great job filling and extracting. His Spanish was put to good use.  Dr. Miller was assisted by Melodi Willis and Patsi Hodges.  Dr. Dick Klein, as usual, was very busy taking impressions and delivering long-awaited dentures and partials.  Barbara Bentley jumped right in and quickly learned how to do the steriliztion like a pro.  Marilyn Zellet handled triage and kept patients moving. Dr Amanda Gosman came over from the medical side and helped with extractions late in the day.  Thanks to all for such a great job.

VOLUNTEERS:  Pilots: John Grube, Frank Heintz, Larry Cochran, Mike Nizec, Elwood Schapansky, Barbara Powers            Doctors: Asa Morton, Amanda Gosman, Eric McFarland       Dentists: John Grube, Kevin Miller, Dick Klein.         Pharmacy: Marilynn Enns, Patsi Hodges.          EMTs: Mike Nizec, Peter  Carl               Dental Assistants: Melodi Willis, Larry Cochran, Patsi Hodges         Translators: Marilyn Zellet, Angela Van Brulle, Blaze Van Brulle, Vera Villareal        Helpers: Barbara Bentley, Elwood Shapansky


JANUARY TRIP  is  Jan.  9-10-11…    Volunteers call Melodi at  805- 736 -7123    
                        There will NOT be a pre-trip potluck, due to the holidays.                













P.O. Box 538
Goleta  CA 93116

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