Sorsogon 2014 Medical Mission
83-member team from US, Canada conducts 7-day mission

The Gubat, Sorsogon medical mission held on Feb.1-7, 2014 was dedicated to the memory of Denis Vista, co-founder of  the Philippine  American Medical Mission Foundation of Michigan (PAMMFM).

Planning for the mission was started over two years ago when registered nurse Thelma Rubucal made a bid for a medical mission in Gubat, her hometown. The success of the mission came about as a result of the well oiled machinery of the host team headed by the Rebucal, Apdal, Rocha, Tamondong, Teo families of Gubat.

The 83-member team from US, Canada and some parts of the Philippines had been extra special, and our gratitude is boundless. Our newest doctors — Dr. David Chengelis, Dr. Susan Iovan (with daughter, Rachel) and Dr. Sheeja Mathai — were excellent and much needed additions to our staff.

Most of us flew to Gubat on Feb 1, and a few, the following day. Dr. David Chengelis, Dr. Ruben Estrada, Dr. Francisco Ponce and Prima Co Wang, CRNA, arrived in Gubat and the rest of the team on Feb. 3. Dr. Dianne Vista and her mom, Annie Vista, Willie and Margie Rivera, CRNA, Alice and Danny Salazar, Preciosa Villanos and Loreta Atienza. Jean Chester went to Gubat a week earlier to sort and organize our supplies, a most difficult job, with the help of the Rebucal clan.

On Feb. 1, from the airport, we proceeded to view the Mayon Volcano, took souvenir photos and posed for more photos at the Cagsawa church ruins, This year is the 200th anniversary of its construction led by an Italian priest. It is also the 250th anniversary of the founding of Gubat.

The visit to the Gubat District Hospital was next. We oriented ourselves to each of our own departments (Surgery, Anesthesia, Preop, Post-op and Supplies. Anesthesia), checked our machines. Unfortunately, we found out that we hd lost one of our cautery machines due to voltage incompatibility..The anesthesia machines (we brought three and the hospital borrowed two) were down to three functioning ones.

The welcome dinner with Mass at the medical venue  (Gym) was sponsored by Gubat Mayor Roderick Co.

On Feb 2, on our way to the famed Bolusan Lake resort, we stopped by the historic Barcelona church for breakfast. Native delicacies were served at the ruins in the park. This was sponsored by the town mayor.

Afterwards a sumptuous lunch was served at the newly opened 5-Star Shama Hotel, sponsored by Gov. Raul Lee.

Later, we went back to the hospital where surgery and anesthesia doctors did final screenings and rechecked our machines. Then we were driven back to the Shama Hotel for a dinner-dance. There we watched an El Divo-style concert.

On Feb 3-7, the medical consultations started, and the staff attended to the patients.

Treating the patients were Doctors Cynthia Chung and Jon Adaniel,. Sheeja Mathai, . Cesar Solarte,  Susan Iovan, Ruben Estrada and Rene Raymundo and CRNAs Dulya Prima Co Wang and Margie Rivera, Doctors Dianne Vista Deck, Sheldon Weiner  David Chengelis, Victoria Navarra, Francisco Ponce and local Dcotors Bautista and  Lelis.

Our surgeons did minor surgeries in between major OR cases. On Feb. 7 (Friday), the supplies department headed by Dr. Susan Raymundo and Jean Chester packed the supplies up to late in the evening, sorting them out into two main groups – one to be left behind and the other to be brought to the next mission in Pangasinan.

The total cases attended to were: Surgical major, 91; minor plus surgical consults, 149; dental cases, 555; and medicines distributed, more than 1600.

Gubat Mayor Roderick Co offered to pay for the transportation of the supplies to San Nicolas, Pangasinan.

Among their other duties (such as surgical assists and scrub techs), Desiree del Rosario and Nicole Navarra helped clean and pack our surgical instruments.

The Acknowledgement Night was a big dinner-dance affair, a fitting end to the successful mission. The missioners received their certificates from the Mayor Roderick Co and PAMMFM president. They also received each a bottle of Sorsogon honey

On Sunday (Feb. 9), breakfast courtesy of PAMMFM was followed by a tour of Legaspi City, highlighted by the viewing of scenic Mayon Volcano, and “zip lining” by our hardy missioners. At 11 a.m., we all went to the airport for our journey back to Manila.