Friday, May 29, 2009

Project HOPE Volunteers See Results of Their Work

Carlos and the Comfort

Carlos and his wife of more than 45 years live in Colon, Panama. In the 1960s, Carlos was a painter for the Panama Canal. At 72, Carlos still works as a painter. Without a pension it is the only way he has to support his family.

Several months ago, Carlos developed hernia symptoms, and his work became very painful, making it difficult to work. Translating her husband’s words from Spanish to English, his wife explained, “We went to doctors, but we couldn’t get an appointment at the hospital.”

Then they saw a flyer announcing the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

Carlos was one of the first patients to be screened for surgery in Panama. Project HOPE volunteer surgeon, Dr. Weintraub remembers screening Carlos. “He was a very sweet man. I knew we could really improve his quality of life,” she said.

Carols came aboard the Comfort with his wife at his side and his surgery was performed the next day.

Dr. Weintraub and Project HOPE volunteer Eliza Speakman, a perioperative nurse were part of Carlos’s surgical team. HOPE volunteer Stacey Giglio, a critical care nurse, helped take care of Carlos following surgery.

“The surgery went very well, “ Dr. Weintraub said with a smile. “He should be able to resume normal activities soon.”

Not soon enough for Carlos. Just hours after the surgery, he was interested in knowing when he could get back to work…and start dancing again. “Look what was done in one day,” said his wife. “Everything is good.”

Before leaving the Comfort the morning following his operation, Carlos showed his appreciation with a thumbs–up sign.

Thanks for reading-Melanie

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