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Local Doctors Provide Care on Annual Medical Mission

Farmington Hills, Mich. (April 17, 2009)---A team of 117 physicians and volunteers from local hospitals provided needed medical care to thousands of men, women and children in rural Guatemala during an annual medical mission from March 6 through 22. 
 
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 and Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. 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.; Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Acting Associate Dean at the Detroit Medical Center, Gary Willyerd, D.O.; POHRMC physician, Mary Jo Voelpel, D.O.; and Mt. Clemens Regional Medical Center resident, Rick Chalmers, 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 traveled to various small towns including Patzicia, Tecpan and San Martin Jilotepeque. The group treated more than 4,500 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 scarlet fever, 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 for the past four years. He says, “This trip is the best thing I do every year. I believe this is my small way of increasing the good in the world.” 
 
As Dr. Kanze finishes his residency and his time at Botsford Hospital, he is concluding this incredible journey by writing a book that encapsulates his experience on all four missions. The book will include photos, quotes from other attendees and details on how to run a medical mission including fundraising tips and even how to have fun and make a difference in the lives of thousands while arranging all the details before, during and after the trip. He hopes that this book, available in May at www.blurb.com, will make it easier for others in the future. All proceeds will go to support the Guatemala Medical Mission. 
 
Each year, the group raises funds to cover transportation, housing costs and fees associated with purchasing medications used to treat Guatemalan patients. Donors include other physicians, nurses and members of the community. Planning is underway for another medical mission in 2010. 
 
Photo caption: Botsford Residents, Brent Mellis, D.O., and Monika Chmielewska, D.O., with Kory Johnson, Medical Student 4, diagnosing a fracture with a tuning fork.

Beaumont Health is a not-for-profit organization formed by Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare to provide high-quality, efficient, accessible services in a caring environment for southeastern Michigan residents and beyond. As one of Beaumont Health's eight hospitals, Botsford Hospital is a multi-specialty 330-bed hospital and verified trauma center located in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The campus also houses an imaging center, a comprehensive care cancer center and an extensive medical education program---part of Michigan State University's Statewide Campus System. Annually, Botsford cares for about 16,000 inpatients and more than 60,000 emergency and trauma patients with a team of approximately 2,500 employees, 300 volunteers and 600 physicians.

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