Anesthesiologist John Holl waiting for his next case. Much of the anesthesia equipment surrounding him has been donated by generous companies and organizations, including Tyco Healthcare, Abbott Laboratories, and AmeriCares.
I’m John Holl, one of the anesthesiologists on this trip to Cusco. This is my 18th Interplast trip. Since 1976, I’ve traveled around the world on
over 40 international medical trips with many organizations. I am a retired pediatric anesthesiologist
from Children’s Hospital in San Diego,
and I still make it a priority to go on several trips per year. Serving in this way is an important part of
my life. I’m so pleased that I am able
to give back a talent that I’ve developed over the years. We’re all citizens of one world, and I really
believe that the chance to help people is what’s important in life.
What has impressed me most about this trip to Cusco is the teamwork, and how well our team has come together. I get such a warm feeling that there are so many
Interplast veterans here. It’s sometimes
difficult to express to people who haven’t been on a trip just how moving this
experience is. With other veterans,
there is a bond that almost goes without saying.
Today, I examined a 50-year old gentleman named Fidel, who came here from Puno (see photo). Simone had performed surgery for Fidel on an Interplast trip to Puno last year. He suffered a terrible burn about four years ago in a household fire when gas fuel and alcohol exploded on his face and arms. Unfortunately, Fidel was robbed on his way to Cusco last weekend, so he missed our clinic day on Monday. However, we included him at the end of today’s schedule because of the extent of his injuries and the distance he has traveled to get here. Simone performed surgery to release some of the burn contractures on his forearm to give him more movement of his arm and hand. Simone is also working on recommendations for Interplast’s partner surgeon in Puno, who can hopefully perform additional surgeries for Fidel in the future.
Fidel’s story is illustrative of how much the people want to be treated, and how incredible the need is around the world. It also shows the great lengths to which patients will go to visit an Interplast team. On past trips, I have met parents who have walked for seven days to see Interplast. Our journey by plane from the U.S. seems so small in comparison…