Hospitalito Atitlán Needs Your Help!
Committed to the Health of Local Children:
Little Salvador receiving antibiotics upon being admitted to the Hospitalito last March
Salvador Calí Damián arrived at the HA emergency room last March with serious respiratory difficulties, and he hadn’t eaten in three days. He was diagnosed with pneumonia.
The doctors told Salvador’s mother Luisa that he had to stay in the hospital several days so he could recover. At first, she was upset. Salvador’s father was not working, and Luisa was concerned about the money. She was referred to the Hospitalito social worker, who told her not to worry about the cost – more important was for her to focus on following the doctor’s orders. Salvador received IV antibiotics and oxygen, and he left after a five-day stay. Luisa was given additional medicine to continue his treatment at home. Salvador returned to the Hospitalito for a follow-up visit with the pediatrician, who found his health greatly improved.
Salvador’s grandparents, who provide this family with moral support, were very grateful for Salvador’s improved health, but also for the large discount. They paid 10 percent of the cost for his care. For hospital employees this child represents another victory.
The Hospitalito Lab is Expanding to the Next Level
HA Lab technician Cristobal with new equipment and help
When Hospitalito Atitlán’s first lab opened in 2005, it was capable of performing only the most basic tests. Hospital physicians sometimes doubted the results of in-house tests and sent them across the lake to Panajachel for verification.
But things have changed. In 2010, Cristobal Ramirez received his degree as a lab technician, using a scholarship from Share the Dream. This year, a third-year resident has joined the lab team, thanks to a partnership with the Chemistry and Pharmacy faculty at the University of San Carlos. This collaboration has enabled a plan for taking the lab to the next level.
Equipment additions in 2013 include a laboratory ventilation hood donated by John and Rita Nelson and delivered by Nathan Boddy, who brought it to Guatemala in a pick-up truck that he and his wife Dr. Johanna Dreiling also donated. This hood allows HA to test sputum for the tuberculosis (TB) germ without risking the health of the staff. Other new lab equipment was purchased with donations from Rotaract Club of Chicago, Zane State College Medical Lab (Zanesville, OH), Rotary Club of Springfield Southeast and HOLA (Helping Others in Latin America) from Sertoma (Springfield, MO).
Cristobal, nicknamed Crystal Ball by medical volunteers, says, “I’m very happy with the advances we have made. We are now more professional, and half our equipment is automated.” Local TB testing is performed in the HA lab at no expense to the patient thanks to an alliance among various organizations.
The HA lab has come a long way since 2005. Our next priority will be to do microbiological cultures.
¡Felicidades Jacinto y Ezequiel!
Hospitalito staff wishes to recognize the achievements of two employees pursuing career enhancement by continuing their education.
Jacinto Garcia (left) has been with the HA operating room since opening day in 2005. For four years, he traveled every Saturday to Universidad Rafael Landivar in Xela. In November, he graduated with the title of professional nurse (RN). But Jacinto isn't done yet. This degree also goes toward his licenciatura (B.S. in Nursing) in two years. Jacinto lives in San Pedro La Laguna with his wife and daughter, so his daily commute to HA includes two boat rides.
Ezequiel Sosof (right) started with HA seven years ago, and is now coordinator of maintenance. Every Saturday for two years, Ezequiel has left home at 4 AM for the Escuela Técnica Superior Kinal in Guatemala City. In November, he earned his diploma and license as an electrician. He hopes to continue his studies, "Me gustaría (I would like to) estudiar electronics; tal vez seguir en la Universidad."
Ezequiel took advantage of the HA merit scholarship program to achieve his diploma. The program provides two benefits: qualified employees can improve their credentials and the hospital acquires a more professional staff. Employees agree to remain at the hospital for at least as long as their scholarship. Both men paid their travel, food and incidental costs themselves.
Volunteer Fills HA's Urgent Need for
Dr. Mui and HA Staff Physician Dr. Asminda Xon review a patient file
Dr. Victoria Mui volunteered at Hospitalito Atitlán (HA) in October with the intent to include some international health experience in her career as an OB/GYN. This was her first experience in the role of volunteer doctor.
“Everyone tells me, ‘[the patients] are so lucky they have you here,’ but to me it’s the other way around. I feel very privileged to be able to provide care to women who may have otherwise not received it. And the fact that they trust me—a stranger who doesn’t speak their language—to do so is amazing.”
Victoria came to Santiago Atitlán last April to take a week of Spanish classes and check out HA as a place to volunteer. She is currently in her third year of residency at the George Washington School of Medicine in Washington, D.C, where she practices in a clinic for the underserved population of the city.
Victoria found a life lesson experienced by many volunteers here. “I learned a whole new perspective on clinical judgment. I was forced to trust my instincts without the technology that I comfortably rely on in the States,” she said.
She wants to come back. “Being a volunteer is different than visiting or going on vacation. When you work and interact with the people here, you feel like you are already setting down roots. When it comes time to leave, you are already thinking about coming back.”
HA Outreach Brings Healthcare to
Cerro de Oro Graduates of the healthcare workers training
Local Puestos de Salud (health centers) are the sites of bi-monthly medical and prenatal visits by Hospitalito specialists. These Tz’utujile Maya villages of San Antonio Chacaya and Cerro de Oro previously had no access to care.
HA educators and nurses lead monthly classes at the Puestos for Madres Consejeras (literally “Mother Counselors”), Facilitadores de Salud (healthcare facilitators) and local nurses.
These sessions cover various life-saving topics in community health. Participants use this new knowledge to improve the wellbeing of their neighbors. The Madres Consejeras visit homes to offer advice, to encourage pregnant women, and to help new mothers with their babies. The Facilitatadores de Salud make home visits when neighbors are sick.
These free clinics and trainings will continue into 2014 thanks to the Strachan Family Foundation. The program not only promotes peer health counseling, but also exposes our medical volunteers to the healthcare system in rural underserved areas of the Guatemalan highlands.
Hospitalito Atitlán is now offering Continuing Medical Education credits for physicians and nurses who want to learn Medical Spanish. Each course is conducted over one week in beautiful Santiago Atitlán, and physicians and nurses can earn up to 25 CME credits. Courses are scheduled ten times through 2013.
This program was made possible through a partnership between the Hospitalito and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians and nurses.
To learn more and to sign up, visit us at: www.hospitalitoatitlan.org/CME/