Farmington Hills and Pontiac, MI (March 27, 2008)--- A team of 125 physicians and volunteers organized by three local hospitals provided needed medical care to thousands of men, women and children in rural Guatemala during an annual medical mission.
The mission included groups from Botsford Hospital, POH Regional Medical Center (POHRMC) and Mt. Clemens Regional Medical Center as well as individuals from other local hospitals. The contingent was led by Botsford Hospital President and CEO, Paul LaCasse, D.O.; Botsford Hospital Chief Medical Officer, David Walters, D.O.; Botsford Hospital resident, David Kanze, D.O., and POHRMC Director of Medical Education, Gary Willyerd, D.O.; and POHRMC Director of Emergency Services, Tressa Gardner, D.O.
The trip was made possible by DOCARE, a non-profit organization founded by an osteopathic physician in 1961. DOCARE aims to bring needed health care to people in remote areas of countries in the Western Hemisphere who would not otherwise be able to receive such medical attention.
During the trip, the doctors and volunteers established a base in Antigua, Guatemala and each day went to various small towns including Patzicia, Tecpan and San Martin-Jilotepeque. The group treated more than 6,000 patients in a two-week time frame.
The physicians cared for families including children of all ages, pregnant women, middle-aged men and women, and the elderly. They treated patients with skin diseases, fungal infections, gallstones, urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis, measles, whooping cough, chickenpox, malnutrition, congenital deformities, sun rashes, psoriasis, eczema, ear nose and throat infections, allergies, asthma and parasites.
Dr. Kanze, a Botsford resident, has participated in the mission three times. He says, “There is a Talmudic verse that states, ‘He who saves one life saves the world entire.’ Our purpose as doctors is to save lives, henceforth saving their individual worlds. In Guatemala, we give the people hope for healthier, more nourished lives by showing them simple hygiene. I think we really accomplished that this year.”
Close to home, POHRMC serves the underprivileged through its Children’s Clinic, Sister & Sister Free Mammogram Program, and other preventative medicine. “Now it is our privilege to go beyond our borders to help others in need,” says Dr. Gardner, Director of Emergency Services. “It is important to us to continually reemphasize our mission: Reaching Beyond to Deliver the Best.”
Prior to the trip, the group raised funds to cover transportation, housing costs and fees associated with purchasing medications used to treat Guatemalan patients. Donors included other physicians, nurses and members of the community. Planning is underway for another medical mission in 2009.
Botsford Hospital, an independent 330-bed community hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., was founded in 1965. Nationally recognized for quality, safety and medical education programs, Botsford has received the 2006 Governor’s Award for Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in the Hospital Setting, and, in 2007, a three-year recertification as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Botsford’s Web address is www.botsford.org.
POHRMC, part of the McLaren Health System, is one of the largest osteopathic teaching hospitals in the United States. POHRMC and its satellite facilities provide a wide array of health care services to the communities of northern Oakland County. Verified as a Level II Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons, POHRMC aspires to enhance the quality of life and health status for the people they serve. To date, POHRMC has provided more than $12 million dollars in uncompensated medical care for those in need. POHRMC’s Web address is www.pohmedical.org.
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