The Team Approach to International Medical Outreach

JOHN R. FISK, M.D., DIANE FISK, LORI PINNEY, JO WOODRUM, AND TERRY SUPAN


Rosa is a 12-year old girl from Guatemala who in July of 1990 was assaulted and sustained bilateral below-elbow amputations by machete. While we were in that country with a medical team, she was brought to our attention as needing prosthetic care. With the sponsorship of Healing the Children, she came to Southern Illinois University medical school for fitting and training.

Medical outreach activities provide medical care to those for whom it is otherwise unavailable. It provides an opportunity for international exchange of a cultural and educational nature. We have found that it also provides an opportunity for community involvement with the resultant positive feelings of individual participation.

The process of establishing a team approach to the care of orthopedically disabled children begins with community support, requires a working board of directors, and benefits from a national affiliation. A fundamental need is fundraising, fundraising, and fundraising. In recent months, our community has supported three such children and has fostered a medical team which has travelled to Guatemala to continue this work. Medical outreach activities of a team nature for orthopedically disabled children has proven to be an extremely rewarding activity for our rehabilitation team and our community.

Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 19230, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9230