Sorsogon City, Sorsogon

April 13, 2018

Mission Overview

The biggest challenge of all, the Mayon volcano, cooperated. As you may already know, the volcano erupted again after we left Sorsogon. I am happy that many of you had a chance to relax in beautiful beaches, seen the beautiful sites of Philippines, and enjoyed the shopping and nightlife of Manila. The fond memories are still fresh. That feeling of satisfaction from making a difference in the lives of many, friendships made, education enhanced and lessons learned still linger nicely in our minds. As with past missions, the MMOM USA 2018 Medical Missions in Sorsogon and Calauag have been successfully completed despite having the smallest team ever for a major mission. The total number of patients treated by both missions is 2,574.

This is the 18th major medical mission for MMOM USA and it started as smoothly as a mission can be. The preparedness by the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital officers and staff (especially Ms. Lyn DeGuzman, Dr. Robbie Chacon, Dr. Jun Bolo, and Dr. Philip Dechavez) and coordination by our very own (especially Jhett Epp, my wife Dr. Catherine Panlilio-Arzadon, and Dr. Paula “Baby Doc” David) made for a very smooth start and finish. Sadly, we had one death while in the operating room and as far as we can determine, she likely had a heart attack. This was clearly a traumatic event for the family of the patient and the entire OR team. The OR and PACU teams met prior to starting the following day to review the events leading to and actions taken. The team felt that under the circumstances, the best care was given and nothing we could do would have prevented the outcome. We have also learned from this and immediately modified our procedures with plans for review and improve our SOP in the OR. Along with Drs. Bolo and Chacon, we met with the family, who understood and thanked us for doing our best. We are grateful to those directly involved who were immensely devastated by this experience. We hope that they are comforted by the fact that the entire team and the MMOMUSA family were also grieving with them and have full confidence and overwhelming support for them.

This major mission in Sorsogon may have been the most number of major surgery cases scheduled and completed. Many more could not be operated on because of time, but we left anesthesia medications and OR supplies for the local doctors to complete all the cases. We were able to run 6 OR tables at the same time as we had enough anesthesia providers and surgeons, however, OR nursing staff was short-handed. Please give the two OR nurses and sisters (Celine and Editha), surgical assistant (Millie) and the two PACU nurses (Sol and Teoffy) a great big applause and huge hug. We worked them hard even when they finally got help from the local staff and nursing students. We worked until late at night. The dental team were also understaffed but still managed to provide fillings and extractions to hundreds of deserving patients. They even managed to bring a small team to distant towns (satellite mission) for extractions. Our minor surgery team was also understaffed and was not able to send a team to the satellite mission. Our eye team remained just as cool as cucumber and in a short 3 days, completed their patient load. Overall, the Sorsogon Major Mission had 111 major surgeries, 165 minor surgeries, 622 optometry/ophthalmology patients and 984 dental patients for a total of 1,882 patients in 5 days. Although we could have seen more patients (especially in minor surgery and dental), this census falls within the normal range of our typical procedure-based mission.

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