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Parker Adventist Hospital Medical Team Provides Medical Care in Peru »
A surgical team from Parker Adventist Hospital is working in the Amazon Basin of Peru this week, providing free surgeries for people in the area who do not have access to health care. Their staff includes Dr Michael Bertocchi, general surgeon, and Dr Dmitriy Panteleyev, anesthesiologist, along with four nurses from Parker.
Fidelina Ahuite Arahuta and her husband Juan live in an indigenous community of around 150 people deep in the Peruvian jungle. She received gall bladder surgery after a missionary group in Iquitos contacted her community and discovered her need.
Fidelina and Juan traveled by boat for three days in order to reach Centura’s partner hospital, Clinica Adventista Ana Stahl. Since Fidelina had never seen a doctor or been to a hospital, the thought of surgery made her very nervous. However, after considering the pain that she had experienced after every meal for more than two years, she decided to be brave and make the long journey.
The city of Iquitos is the largest city in the world with no road access. Boats are the main means of transportation in the area. After arriving from the Chambira, Maranon, and Amazon Rivers, Fidelina stepped off the boat into a noisy and bustling city of nearly a half-million people. The couple made their way to the hospital amid the mass of people and confusion.
When Dr Bertocchi arrived in Iquitos from Parker, Colorado, he evaluated 45 patients at Clinica Adventista Ana Stahl who had previously been identified as needing surgery. Of those, 38 were selected. Fidelina was one of the first patients to be chosen, and she received surgery the following day during the medical campaign. Speaking only Urarina, a tribal language spoken by around 3,000 people in the jungle, Fidelina communicated with her doctors and nurses through her husband who also speaks Spanish.
“I want to thank the medical team for this surgery,” Fidelina quietly shares from her hospital bed. “I was sick for a long time, and it was very painful to eat. I thank God that these foreigners were able to come and provide this surgery for me. I am very happy now to be well again.”
[Fidelina Arahuta; photos by Greg Hodgson]