MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.You’re sick with the common cold, but you can’t run to the local corner store and grab medicine because there is no corner store. There isn’t running water, toilets, sinks or showers. This is what Peru’s most disadvantaged experience every day.
By going on a medical mission trip to the San Martin Region, members from the 22nd Medical Group, civilians with McConnell and pre-medical students from Benedictine College, were able to help the indigenous people that deal with all of these issues from seven different towns March 1 to 10, 2019.
“Prior to the start of the mission, Maj. Fowler, along with her daughter, fundraised enough money to purchase the medications required for these types of missions,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Wilhelm, 22nd Medical Group chief medical officer. “Her efforts resulted in us being able to procure medications and supplies with a retail value well over $500,000.”
The money raised was used to purchase an anti-parasitic medication for the trip, the medical personnel also brought vitamins and prenatal vitamins.
During the mission, the medical team saw 826 patients throughout towns that did not have access to consistent medical care. The medical team had to bring everything they needed, this included sanitary water and any equipment they would need to examine patients.
Each day the team had to set up their own clinic and pharmacy, then tear it down at the end of the day.
“To see how they ran clinics was astonishing,” said Maj. Chelsie Fowler, 22nd MDG medical services flight commander. “Their equipment and how they did things was something out of the 1940s or 50s for us.”
The physicians were able to complete 959 diagnoses, the most common among patients were both muscle and joint pain, as well as many types of infectious diseases.
“The physicians, saw patients and Maj. Fowler supervised logistics and operations of the clinic,” said Wilhelm. ”Maj. Colón did an astounding job processing 1,486 prescriptions – not one medication left his pharmacy without him personally signing off on it.”
Maj. Pedro Colón, 22nd Medical Support Squadron flight commander of diagnostics and therapeutics, not only signed off on prescriptions, but also utilized his Spanish language skills to explain to the patients what their diagnosis was and what they were getting prescribed.
The team members went through hot, undesirable conditions with a lack of technology, but delivered the same exceptional care to the Peruvians that they would to those here at the 22nd MDG.