EHC Team Provides Charity Surgery In Guyana
Ann Woo, M.D. of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Elmhurst Hospital Center recently returned from a mission trip to Guyana, South America under the auspices of the Northeast Mission of Hope. Founded in 2003, the Northeast Mission of Hope brings together physicians from local New York City hospitals to provide charity surgery that can improve the lives of people in less fortunate countries. "The purpose of this mission is to provide patients in need of surgical assistance with just that. The surgeries we perform are aimed at improving the quality of life for a person," Woo said. Cases include hernia repairs, hysterectomies (removal of the uterus), sterilization procedures, circumcisions, prostate surgeries, cholecystectomies (gall bladder removals) and thyroidectomies (removal of patients' thyroid glands). Patients are pre-screened by local physicians and are evaluated when the doctors from the U.S. arrive.
Twenty-six providers performed more than 40 surgeries on the Guyana mission. Obstetrics Registered Nurse Indrowti Singh, originally from Guyana, was one of the four volunteers from Elmhurst Hospital Center. "Growing up in Guyana, there were limited opportunities available. At the age of 17, I visited Georgetown Hospital and saw the nurses working with their patients, and there and then I decided that I wanted to become a nurse so I could help people. I became interested when I learned about the mission from Dr. Woo. The mission is all about giving back to the community and I am honored to be a part of it," Singh said.
Woo was asked to join the first mission group to the Philippines, where 24 nurses, surgeons and other volunteers worked together. Since 2003, the group has been back to the Philippines twice and the Dominican Republic once where surgeons have performed anywhere from 40 to 70 cases during the weeklong stay. Mission trips take a year to plan and prepare for and those who travel with the group pay their own expenses during their stay. The Northeast Mission of Hope partners with a local hospital and agencies on each trip.
"I aim to continue on the mission trips because I love helping people. It is very rewarding to see the gratification on a patient's face and knowing that I have contributed in some way towards improving their quality of life," Singh said.
The Northeast Mission of Hope is next scheduled to visit the Dominican Republic in October 2007.