CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Medical professionals from Summit Health and community members from the Franklin County area and surrounding communities returned March 18 from an 11-day medical mission trip to Ecuador.
The team spent a week providing medical care for local communities in Quevedo, Ecuador and offering prescription medications and vitamins. Their clinic was set up in a local church for three days, and then in a neighborhood school house for two days.
“We treated over 800 patients,” said Chaplain Paul Yeun, team leader and director of pastoral care services at Chambersburg Hospital.
According to Yeun, the team also offered the people of Quevedo classes on nutrition, dental care, hygiene, handwashing, women’s health, breast health, prenatal care, body mechanics, prevention and treatment of parasites, water safety and smoking cessation. Yeun also provided sessions on spirituality and health.
Yeun said the education classes were held in a tent located on an empty lot next to the clinic at the church.
“An additional tent was erected to offer activities to entertain the children of the patients being seen by the medical team,” he said.
According to Yeun, the mission team took 17 bags of medication and vitamins with them to Ecuador, along with 300 pairs of reading and prescription glasses.
Yeun was able to spend time providing pastoral counseling to those who were interested or referred by triage nurses or physicians. He also taught local pastors of all denominations classes on crisis intervention and counseling couples with marital problems.
“When I was in Ecuador in November  for a pastoral care teaching mission,” Yeun explained. “I was told by the local people that there was nothing in the local neighborhoods to help people with health care.”
“So I was excited to come back and bring medical professionals with me.”
According to Yeun, patients were lined up early in the morning waiting for the clinic to open.
“We were supposed to close the clinic at 4:30 p.m., but the people outside kept coming, and so we stayed as late as we could,” Yeun said.
The team of 16 was made up of medical doctors, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, a social worker, a lab technologist, an ultrasound specialist, a school psychologist, a student nurse, a clinical chaplain and general helpers.
The members of the 2014 medical mission team are: Charles Philips, Dr. Dany Morel Fermin, Emory Oyler, Brandt Wingert, Kati Masters, Kara Ocker, Dr. Yaser Elnahar, Chaplain Paul Yeun, Laura Jacques, Harley Smith, Christine Pyne, Dianne Hetrick, Sue Russell, Carolyn Smith, June Clawson and Rachel Wingert.
Following their time spent caring for the local community, the team was able to participate in the local cultural activities and do some sightseeing.
Yeun noted that all members of the medical mission trip were responsible for their own travel expenses.
“They are generous and dedicated people,” Yeun said. “They also used their own vacation time for this humanitarian endeavor.”
Help from the community
Many local churches and organizations offered monetary support for the purchases of medicine and vitamins, Yeun said. The Cumberland Valley Relief Center provided 600 cloth bags to stuff with medicine, vitamin, and health care items to be given to the patients in Quevedo.
Yeun also noted that the medical mission was a joint effort between his team and the Evangelical Methodist Church in Ecuador.
“The church provided logistical support, interpreters, and volunteers to help us,” he said. “I was told again and again that this was the biggest event in the history of the Evangelical Methodist Church in Ecuador."
The mission trip for 2015 is already being planned. Contact Chaplain Yeun at (717) 267-7749 If you would like to have information for the next medical mission.
Summit Health, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to building a healthier community through leading-edge medical technology, skilled physicians, caring staff, and convenient locations. Summit Health’s comprehensive selection of services and providers includes family physicians, surgeons, specialists, diagnostic services, a women’s health center, a fitness center, two walk-in care centers, and two award-winning hospitals. For more information about Summit Health, call (717) 267-3000 or visit www.SummitHealth.org.