Labor Day Weekend Hands International Trip to Trinidad
I recently returned from a four-day medical mission over Labor Day weekend to Point Fortin, Trinidad as part of the Hands International Team. The team was led by Dr. and Mrs. Reynold S. Agard (Internal Medicine) and Drs and Mrs. Lester Horrell (Pediatrics) and their families. Both families are natives of Trinidad. Dr. Agard is President of Hands International, which is a nonprofit agency dedicated to Health Care Delivery with compassion as well as Health Development around the world. This group has traveled to areas of natural disaster, most recently in Nepal and Haiti a few years ago. Also, Dr. and Mrs. Agard also kindly accompanied my Father and I to India for our Medical Mission in February 2016.
Having participated in planning and executing two medical missions to India in 2014 and 2016, I was glad to serve solely as a Cardiologist and leave all the planning, logistics, and politics to the Agards and Horrells! Though the country needed our assistance, there was tremendous of amounts of red tape. We heard that the week prior, a team from England that arrived was not allowed to practice as their paperwork was not in order.
The team consisted of about 70 people from the USA and Trinidad. Our Team included Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacist, and nonmedical volunteers. We had physicians from various specialties who are listed below; there were three cardiologists on the team, including myself.
We received tremendous support from the Point Fortin, 7th Day Adventist Church. This group welcomed us with open arms and provided much love and support, not to mention local cuisine. As someone who practices a different religion, I felt at ease with them and in their place of worship. They welcomed all those from our team with who had different faiths and religions.
Our team treated about 1,800 patients. We worked for 10 hour days, only with a few minute break for lunch. The temperature was about 96 degrees with 78% humidity. This made hydration essential. The team worked tirelessly without complaint.
Most patients were seen for the usual complaints seen in a primary care doctors office. We did have a few very sick patients. Though the patients have access to physicians, it seems their physicians lacked the time to truly educate them about their disease. This is the same issue we are faces in the US Healthcare system. Declining reimbursements and increased staff labor costs due to massive amounts of mandated paperwork and regulation. There’s also a large waiting list for procedures; we were told there’s a six-month waiting list for an elective hernia repair. Our general surgeon is likely to return soon to help with that backlog.
All of us found that the patients were very respectful. Many had waited for hours to be seen and had arrives at sunrise. We did not hear any complaints. They had a great command of the English language, not surprising given a 98.8% literacy rate of those over age 15. Most patients came prepared with a list of all their medications and dosages. They even brought medical records with them. Surprisingly a very high percentage of patients that I treated for hypertension owned home blood pressure kits and came with a bp log.
A highlight was working very closely with my fellow colleagues from Delaware. Normally, we chat on the phone or meet briefly in the hospital to discuss and co-manage patients. But, for four days we worked side by side and were able to have instant consultations. In addition, we had time to learn from each other.
Another highlight of the trip was being able to perform a cardiac ultrasound. Ultrasound is a special interest of mine but I don’t often get time to scan due to time constraints and the need for efficiency. Many thanks to Ava Horrell and Dr. Amar Sortur for helping me figure out all the new buttons on the portable ultrasound machine. Hands international’s ultrasound greatly enhanced our evaluation and management.
Of note, I was also able to scan and work with Cardiologist, Tony Furey who helped train me in echocardiography while I was a Cardiology Fellow at Christiana Hospital. Also, Dr. Kamar Adeleke was on this trip and he taught me in medical school. Working with my teachers made me realize how much I have progressed.
There’s talk of a new hospital in Point Fortin and the Health Ministry is looking for collaboration from abroad to help with setting up their departments and helping with healthcare delivery. Hands International is keeping abreast of the situation and seeing if they can help.
Now that I have a valid Trinidad medical license for one year, I am looking forward to returning. It was very refreshing to practice medicine without the restrictions imposed on our profession by our government and policymakers.
Trinidad and Tobago is a great melting pot of multiple cultures. This shows in the people, cuisine, and national holidays.
Thank you to the Agard (Ingrid, Rey, and Richard) and Horrell (Ava, Lester, and Carlyle) Families and the 7th Day Adventist Church in Point Fortin for making this happen and for a wonderful introduction to Trinidad.
More from Delaware Online
Lewes Rehoboth Rotary Team Returns from 2nd Medical-Surgical Mission to India
Dr. Vinay R. Hosmane (Cardiologist) returned from India this past February 2016 after leading an American team of 22 physicians, nurses, and non-medical personnel on a one week, Rotary sponsored, medical mission.
This second mission was the vision of his Father and Mother (Dr. & Mrs. R.U. Hosmane). His Father is a Urologist & Rotarian in Delaware. In December, his parents traveled to India to lay the groundwork for the mission and met with local stakeholders. Members of the local Indian Team included Hosmane Family members. Both times the teams were supported by the Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary Club. The last medical-surgical mission was in 2014.
The Hosmane Family led the group of American volunteers 10,000 miles to India. They traveled to Sirsi, Karnataka in South India and partnered with T.S.S. Hospital and local Rotary Clubs. Indigent patients were seen at both multiple, outreach camps as well as the local hospital. Local, Indian physicians also participated and were tasked with taking on these patient as there own for follow-up care. Donated medical supplies were used on the trip.
Dr. Rey Agard, a local Physician & Member of Hands International, lent his vast expertise on the mission, as well as provided many of the much-needed supplies.
Over 850 patients were seen and 65 surgeries were performed. Many patients were seen during the week for follow-up care. This was more patients than seen in 2014.
Dr. Vinay Hosmane and his Cardiovascular team performed many exercise stress echocardiograms. This was the first time the test was performed in Sirsi.
In addition to caring for patients, the team participated in teaching students and nurses.
Dr. Vinay Hosmane stated:
“This second mission was a great success. We had a meaningful cultural and clinical exchange with our Indian counterparts. We worked very hard despite the conditions and were able to hand off our patients to local Indian physicians for continuity of care. I thank our team for making a great sacrifice from their businesses, families and personal lives. Despite the sacrifice, I know we all gained personally from the endeavour. Also, we had great camaraderie amongst our team. I am looking forward to the next mission. “
The team consisted of the following:
American Team Members:
Vinay R. Hosmane, MD
Susan Chudzik, CRNP
Quincy Law, RDCS
R. U. Hosmane, MD
Mahmood Sadeghee, MD
Rey Agard, MD
Heather Ragozine, MD
Pamela Bailey, MD
Jyothi Rao, MD
Chansimone, Syravanh, PA
Roopa Bhat, MD
Robert Wiltshire, MD
Arun Mahlhotra, MD
Kevin Geffe, DO
Beth Sargent, RN
Caroline Zonino, RN
Lynne Renne Mayes, RN
Deirdre Ritchie, RN
Kathryn MacDonald, RN
Nicole McCarry, RN
Matt McCarry, LPN
Dr. Vikram Hegde
Dr. P. S. Hegde
Dr. R. M. Hegde
Dr. Ganesh Bhagwat
2014 Medical Mission Trip to India
The ancient proverb “like father, like son” means that a son is very likely to continue a career path that was his father’s. For a local doctor, that proverb has once again proved to be true.
Dr. R.U. Hosmane, a distinguished urologist in Lewes, Del., followed in his father’s footsteps and became a doctor, just like his father, Dr. U.G. Hosmane had been in their home country of India.
Years later, Hosmane planned and led a medical mission trip, returning back to his homeland in February 2014. The Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary Club, who helped raise $15,000 worth of medical supplies for a local Indian hospital, was a key factor in making this medical mission trip a reality.
Hosmane remembered watching his father give back to the community as a child, never turning away anyone who needed help and wanted to help continue that family tradition.
The Rotary Club’s main philosophy is “Service Over Self” and Hosmane vigorously worked to plan this medical mission trip, trying to fulfill that philosophy. The hard work from planning the trip paid off when he and his team arrived and were able to provide the patients with free medical care.
The weeklong mission trip comprised of four physicians, six nurses, a nurse practitioner and a nonmedical volunteer from the United States. Each of the volunteers paid for their own travel and personal expenses, allowing the trip to fully give back to those in need.
Not only was the trip also supported by local Indian doctors and nurses, it was also a family reunion of sorts. Hosmane’s wife and his son, as well as four of his cousins, all of who practice medicine in India, helped tend to the many patients that were treated throughout the week.
Overall, Hosmane’s team worked with more than 450 of some of India’s poorest people while performing more than 50 surgeries for these patients. Even at the age of 75, Hosmane performed 10 of the surgeries himself.
More info from 2 Delaware Newspapers: