Editor’s Note: This week, our reporter in the field, Leila Farahani, documents her experiences in northern Nicaragua, as Fara Foundation hosts its most comprehensive mission to date. International teams are stationed at Fara Clinic, Matagalpa Regional Hospital and other facilities. When it concludes on Aug. 4, the mission will have helped more than 1,000 underserved in this coffee-growing community.
MATAGALPA, NICARAGUA — by Leila Farahani
Mission is about to conclude, and many people have benefitted from the group’s hard work, people who would not have gotten treatment otherwise. Here’s a summary of what our team has accomplished so far.
Over the week, we saw more than 1,000 patients, young and old, as well as school children. Our vein specialists managed to treat 370 people for varicose vein disease and related disorders, which has been Fara Foundation’s focus during previous medical missions. For this trip, however, we expanded our efforts to include pediatric outpatient treatment, gastroenterology and audiology, among other fields of treatment.
One thing we also did was, we definitely helped people differentiate between what problems they actually had. Found that many people do not drink enough water, thus many we saw on the days when I was helping with outpatient were people who had dehydration headaches. Also, the typical diet here is high in acidity, which adds to dehydration and stomach disorders. My mother (Maria) gave lectures on the benefits of eating papaya to the numerous individuals who came in with stomach pain.
Watching and helping with the vein surgeries has been my favorite thing thus far, because the condition of the patients changes so drastically within a few minutes. You can see the change on their faces as well as their bodies. The doctors from Arizona (home to our lead vein specialist and a co-organizer of the mission, Dr. Nick Morrison) have their own method, using a laser to correct varicose veins at the temperature of 1100°F. This is in the case of a vein that runs mostly straight, and you can watch the laser treat the vein as it follows along the fiber optic laser with an ultrasound. However, veins that don’t run straight are treated with foam. Both groups of doctors use the foam, which is really interesting to watch them make, because the procedure has to be done very quickly. Once the foam is made, the doctors have only a minute to inject it directly into a vein before the foam solution breaks down. The two Italian doctors do the foam treatment without using the ultrasound when they inject the shots. It is really interesting to watch both groups with their respective methods.