Thursday, July 9, 2009

Volunteer Surgeon, Dr. Bob Coleman Helps Provide Hope

Two residents crowd around the operating table as the surgeon gives instructions. His voice is low and calm, but carries the force of experience. The whole surgical team moves as one orchestra, with his voice conducting.

The woman on the table has had this procedure done four other times, each ending in disappointment. This time, she hopes, will be different. This surgeon has more equipment, more knowledge and experience than the others she’s seen. Yet he’s giving her this care for free—as is the entire surgical team. In fact, the whole operating room and the entire hospital she’s in come at no cost to her.

The Nicaraguan woman on the table, is under the care of general surgeon Dr. Bob Coleman and his team here on the U.S. Navy’s floating hospital ship, the USNS Comfort. The care they provide is part of a joint effort on the part of the Navy, international militaries, and NGO’s to provide free health care to underserved and developing nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. The mission is called Continuing Promise, and Doctor Bob, a volunteer through Project HOPE, has been onboard for three weeks.

“Being in private practice, it’s tough to get the time away to come and do these missions,” says Dr. Coleman. “But if it’s important enough, you’ll find a way.”

Part of a three-man surgical team based in Champagne, Illinois, Doctor Bob is finding more and more time to come to places like Corinto, Nicaragua, La Union, El Salvador, and others throughout Latin America to provide his services where they are needed most.

Project HOPE will bring over a hundred surgeons, doctors, nurses and midwives aboard the Comfort this year in this collaborative effort with the Navy.

“Using the Navy’s hardware along with the manpower and expertise of the NGOs is really brilliant,” says Dr. Coleman. “We’re really becoming more than the sum of our parts out here. There are frustrations, of course, but the bottom line is that this is happening, and care is getting to places where before there was no hope.”

“I personally feel—and you can see this in everyone who works here—I feel a deep calling to this type of work in the world,” he adds. “And when there are this many people who care this deeply about a problem, things are ultimately going to come together.”

Thanks for reading-Jacob

1 comment:

  1. thanks for wonderful article. thats our Dr Bob, we are all so proud of him and all of you. what a wonderful, generous country we live it. thank you jacob .

    bobs wife