Edmonton medical volunteers provide ‘life-changing’ surgeries in Ecuador

When the power went out at Hospital Padre Carollo in Quito, Ecuador on Tuesday, a medical team prepping a patient for hip surgery didn’t even consider cancelling the procedure.

With the elevators out of service, team members found a way to bring the 87-year-old woman down the narrow stairwell from the third to first floor, where the operating room and other essential services remained functional with the help of a generator.

“There really was only enough room to comfortably kind of put her on my back,” said Dr. Ryan Wright, a family physician from Edmonton who specializes in orthopedics.

Wright piggy-backed the patient to the OR where she underwent hip replacement surgery.

“She’s doing very well after surgery, ” Wright said Thursday. “She just walked the length of the hospital hallway and down a flight of stairs. We’re hoping she’ll go home as soon as today.”

During a power outage in a hospital in Quito, Ecuador, an Edmonton doctor carried a female patient down two flights of stairs to the OR. 0:12

Wright is on a team of doctors, surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists and others who are part of the annual Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad (CAMTA) mission to Quito, Ecuador’s capital.

The Edmonton-based organization was founded in 2001 by Dr. Marc Moreau, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and his wife Barb Moreau, a former nurse who now organizes the mission trips.

Moving the patient down two flights of stairs during a power failure is a great example of the teamwork among the volunteers, Barb Moreau said.

“Somebody carrying her IV [intravenous] line, carrying her, somebody covering her because she’s in a hospital gown straddled on Ryan’s shoulders,” she said. “Everything here is an incredible team effort.”

The majority of the 96 volunteers on CAMTA’s 18th mission are from Edmonton, with others from across Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia.

Over two weeks, about 35 adults will undergo hip replacement surgeries and about 25 children will undergo surgery to repair a club foot, or improve movement strained by cerebral palsy.

Alfredo, 4, has a rare birth defect of the foot. He underwent surgery as part of the CAMTA mission on Monday. (Darrel Comeau/CAMTA)

The surgery “truly is life-changing to these people,” Barb Moreau said.

Many of the volunteers wrote on their applications that they wanted to join CAMTA because they want “to help or give back,” she said.

“As they’re saying that and I’m working through their application I know in the back of my head I want to say, ‘You are going to go home with so much more than what you’re going to give.'”

This trip is Wright’s sixth mission with CAMTA.

“Practising medicine can be quite stressful mentally and emotionally and when I come down here I just feel very recharged and it reminds me of why I went into medicine in the first place,” Wright said.

Some Ecuadorians don’t have access to the basic treatments taken for granted in Canada, he said. He described the case of a 30-year-old man who had fractures in both hips because of a bone disease.

Following surgery, the man was up and walking for the first time in four years, which had “everyone in tears,” Wright said.

Dustin Rendon (left) is pictured with Barb Moreau, Dr. Marc Moreau and his twin brother Damon. (Darrel Comeau/CAMTA)

Some of the people who have been helped by the mission clinic in Hospital Padre Carollo return as volunteers.

Dustin Rendon came to CAMTA with a club foot 17 years ago. During the current mission, he and and his twin brother Damon volunteered as translators for the team.

While the time spent in Ecuador is short and the interactions with patients happen over a few days, “You feel like you’ve made a friend on the other side of the world,” Barb Moreau said.

Since few of the volunteers speak Spanish, most of the interaction involves “smiles and laughter and hugs,” she said.

“It’s pretty overwhelming every day here.”

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2019-02-28 16:47:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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