Berkeley College School of Health Studies Travels to Ecuador to Participate in Medical Mission with Healing the Children® New Jersey
Berkeley College in Dover was the stepping off point for a medical mission that provided needed surgeries for children in Ecuador between Saturday, June 7 and Saturday, June 14.
Joseph Charleman of Vernon, the chair of the Surgical Technologist and Surgical Processing Technician programs, arranged the medical mission with Healing the Children New Jersey, Inc., a group dedicated to providing appropriate medical care to children in need. A group of 14 medical professionals, including Berkeley faculty members Anbalagan George and Nicole Willis and recent graduate Ana Campos, traveled to Ecuador’s largest hospital, Hospital de Niños Dr. Roberto Gilbert, located in the city of Guyaquil.
At the hospital, group members evaluated 44 patients and performed or assisted with 24 surgeries. Before the trip began, Berkeley students packed and prepared the medical equipment that they would need – about 22 pieces of luggage in total, containing medical supplies from EKG machines to medication. In Ecuador, the lead surgeon, Dr. Richard Schlussel of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, rated each case for severity, and the most urgent surgeries were performed first.
The focus was on pediatric urology. Many patients had congenital defects. The work wasn’t easy. They operated from Monday through Friday, for about 13 to 14 hours a day. “It is very difficult, but it’s very rewarding,” Charleman said. “At the end of the trip you’re almost sad to leave, because the work you’re doing is so appreciated and so well received.”
Now a second, larger Berkeley mission to Peru is scheduled for May of 2015. Charleman said that the medical mission does students good, too.
“It gets students involved. A lot don’t come from a strong economic foundation, and it’s unbelievable that people who have so little will give so much. And that’s the most beautiful thing to see. The students develop that compassion right in school. They feel like they’re part of something that’s bigger. They see that with their career, they’ll be able to help other people.”