Introducing Our New Series: “Follow the Leader”, meet the real people from our office who are out there making a difference!
Follow the Leader : Rae Ann G., a surgical nurse who works for a hospital here in S.F.. How does she spend her vacation time? By using her own funds to travel to Guatemala to assist in surgeries for people who cannot afford care.
1. What is the organization that you volunteer your vacation time for?
I volunteer with Faith in Practice which was started to help people in Guatemala with their medical and health needs.
2. How long do you go to Guatemala for?
There are several teams that go for about a week at a time.
3. What are the typical procedures done?
We do hernias, lumps and bumps, laparoscopic gall bladder removal, cleft lip and palate repairs and basic GYN procedures.
4. What is the most dramatic medical situation you have assisted with?
The most dramatic procedure I helped with was for a young woman who had an ovarian tumor and looked about 10 months pregnant. Once we got inside her belly, it was a lot more complex than we thought. It was benign but wrapped around several vital structures. At one point we had all 5 of our surgeons scrubbed in to help get the tumor out. At that time blood products were 24 hours away unless we didn’t crossmatch it. As it was, she hung in there for a 6 hour procedure to take out this 33 lb tumor. She was in the hospital for about a week I think. We had left by the time she was released but the following team told us how well she did. We saw a miracle!
5. Are the people grateful for the free medical services?
The majority of Guatemalans are such kind and gentle people. They’re very grateful to the people who take care of them. I don’t know much about Guatemalan politics but the government seems unable to care for their people medically at this time.
6. What types of neighborhoods do you go into to do these procedures?
We work in an established hospital called Las Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro which is near downtown Antigua. The groups that precede us go into all types of villages around the country to find people needing medical care. They are either cared for there with nutritional or basic help or given information and a date to go to Antigua to have surgery if needed.
7. What do you like to do in your free time when at home?
When I’m home I like to play with and walk my dog, read about other places, cook and most of all, spend time with my boyfriend on his boat.
8. Why do you come to the San Francisco Spine Pain Relief Center?
Dr. Denny keeps me moving, literally!