In the spring of 2022, Karolain Garcia, M.D., currently a fourth-year anesthesiology resident, took her anesthesia talents to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to aid in the surgical repair of cleft lips and palates. Interplast South, a non-profit organization of physicians and nurses, organizes yearly mission trips to the Ruth Paz Hospital.
Garcia’s team performed close to forty surgical repairs. “One particular challenge we faced was that the patients did not receive muscle paralysis, which is typically administered for these cases,” Garcia said. “Ensuring that they had an appropriate level of anesthesia while maintaining spontaneous ventilation required continuous vigilance and very careful attention to detail.”
The children who received these repairs do not have access to medical care on a regular basis. Many families live hours away and had to rely on public transportation to get to the hospital, some even traveling for days. Garcia said one of the most memorable parts of the trip was seeing the transformations of the patients after each procedure. “I feel honored to have played a role in their journeys and to know I was able to have a positive impact in their lives,” she said.
Garcia came back from her trip to Honduras with a feeling of fulfillment, gratitude and admiration for the people she met. Her experience working with the children there was inspiring. “Their smiles were absolutely priceless,” she said. “I was left wanting to join other mission trips, pursue pediatric anesthesiology and continue to provide care to those who need it the most.”