Saturday, July 13, 2024

CHRISTUS Health Team Performs Life-Changing Surgeries in Honduras

by BIZ Magazine

A medical team from CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center has recently returned from a successful surgical mission trip to Guaimaca, Honduras, where they extended CHRISTUS Health’s mission of healing through their services. The team, led by Dr. James Barnes, a general/bariatric surgeon and chief of staff at CHRISTUS Highland Medical Center, partnered with Baptist Medical & Dental Mission International (BMDMI) to provide critical medical care to the local community.

The mission, spearheaded by First Baptist Church in Natchitoches, spanned three weeks with various subgroups participating. Dr. Barnes’ team, which focused on surgical procedures, took part in the final week of the mission from May 30 to June 7. The team included RNs Pam Clapp and Vickie Colvin, and certified scrub tech Atalyn Nix. They were joined by another general surgeon from Arkansas.

“We arrived on Friday night and by Saturday, I was set up in the clinic and saw all 23 patients scheduled for evaluation,” Dr. Barnes explained. “These patients had been prepped for months, presenting with issues like gallbladder problems or hernias.”

This mission marked Dr. Barnes’ third trip to Honduras. He praised the efficiency of the setup, noting, “It’s a good trip because they have all the patients ready when I get there. The operating room is relatively modern, allowing us to perform laparoscopic surgeries.”

Of the 23 patients evaluated, 21 underwent surgery. “We focused mainly on laparoscopic gallbladder and hernia surgeries. We performed a couple of procedures on Sunday afternoon, but the main surgery days were Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, with six or seven cases each day,” Barnes said. “Although we saw a few miscellaneous cases, these were our primary focus.”

Dr. Barnes reported no complications during the surgeries, despite the severity of the patients’ conditions. “In the United States, gallbladder issues are addressed quickly. But in Honduras, patients wait months or even years for surgery, which means their conditions are much worse by the time we operate. Despite this, everything went well.”

The patients ranged in age, with most in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. “The youngest patient was an 8-year-old girl with a facial lipoma, which we removed for cosmetic reasons,” Barnes noted.

Most patients were able to return home the same day, though a few required overnight observation. “By bringing our surgical team to Honduras, we provide life-changing operations to people who otherwise lack access to this level of healthcare,” Barnes said. “It’s an opportunity for me to give back some of the blessings I have received in my own life.”

The mission of CHRISTUS Health, extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, was clearly demonstrated in the work of Dr. Barnes and his team, leaving a lasting impact on the Guaimaca community.

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