Silver Cross Employees Volunteer Overseas on Medical Mission Trip
Joliet, IL (April 12, 2012) — Some people volunteer in their community or another part of the country, but a few area medical professionals felt it was time to help others by venturing to South America to the tropical land of Bolivia.
Silver Cross Hospital Surgical Nurses John Lindemulder, R.N.; Darlene Fabek, R.N.; and Kim Lee, R.N.; along with Mark Danielson, M.D., surgeon on staff at Silver Cross; and Fred Alexander, M.D., infectious disease physician on staff at Silver Cross; decided to lend their medical expertise and participate in an 9-day medical mission to Santa Cruz, which is located in eastern Bolivia.
Dr. Alexander’s brother-in-law, Phil, is a missionary in Bolivia and has a relationship with the people who operate the Medical Clinic in Santa Cruz. Knowing that Dr. Danielson has participated in other medical mission trips throughout the globe, Dr. Alexander invited him on this trip to Bolivia. “I was especially excited to attend the Santa Cruz trip since we were going to perform surgeries,” said Mark Danielson, M.D., general surgeon with Surgical Consultants of Joliet.
Within 5 days, Danielson and his team of surgical nurses performed 28 surgeries including laparoscopic gall bladder surgeries, hernia surgeries and colostomy takedown surgeries. Their patients ranged in age from 20 to 60 years old.
Dr. Alexander’s wife Beth, who is a pediatrician, translated for Dr. Danielson’s surgical team. “Unlike the U.S. where a patient may wait 2 weeks to have surgery, the Bolivian patients we treated suffered with gall bladder or hernia pain for 3 to 4 years before having their surgery with us,” said Dr. Danielson. “This mission trip was so rewarding because we were able to help people who suffered in great pain for so long.”
In addition, Dr. Alexander and his team of nurses and other medical professionals, drove one to two hours each day to remote locations outside the Santa Cruz area. They administered general medical care to area residents, who had no funds to pay for healthcare treatments. Throughout their stay, they cared for 750 patients who suffered from a variety of conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, bronchitis, scabies and soft tissue infections. “As a Christian, I believe part of serving the Lord is to give back to others. I’ve been very blessed in my life and feel it is a tremendous privilege to help people become healthier so they can enjoy their life more,” said Fred Alexander, M.D., internal medicine and infectious disease physician with Southwest Infectious Disease in Joliet.
After a medical mission trip, not only are the patients’ health changed for the better, the missionaries are surprisingly changed also, but on a different level. “It was overwhelming emotionally to see the patients’ spirits lifted so much after they received modern medical treatments,” said Dr. Danielson. “Further it is inspiring to me on a personal level to witness the amazing spirit of cooperation amongst all the medical staff and see the fantastic work they perform with primitive medical supplies,” said Dr. Danielson.
This was the fourth mission trip for Dr. Alexander who encourages others to participate. He says, “Not only do you help people in great need during missionary work, it also has been so rewarding personally to be exposed to a different culture with new customs.”
A total of 10 healthcare professionals went on the trip from January 31 through February 8, 2012.
The group mission trip was co-sponsored by Cup of Cold Water Ministries located in Newark, IL., and MVP Bolivia who arranged the flight and lodging logistics of the trip for the medical team; however the medical team paid for their trips with their own money.
About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for seven years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,900 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 289-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices and recently opened a state-of-the-art replacement hospital on February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).