Getting a surgical team to the Dominican Republic for ten days is one thing. Getting all the tools they need to operate—in a country without them—is another
For five years, Patti Jackson acted as Freedom to Move’s volunteer logistics coordinator, making sure Dr. Duwelius and his team had the necessary supplies and equipment to perform dozens of complex hip and knee replacements during their semi-annual mission to the Dominican Republic. Her job was to sweat the small stuff.
Despite taking every precaution, non-existent inventory systems and international shipping problems created yearly obstacles for Patti and her husband Brad Jackson. Inevitably, something they needed wasn’t there when the team arrived. This year it was surgical blankets.“The year before, we’d shipped 600 donated blankets to Creighton University at a cost of $700, which then had to be shipped at international rates to the DR on crates,” said Mrs. Jackson.
“When the team arrived this year, the blankets were nowhere to be found. 600 were more than our team needed, so we expected that over the course of the year the La Vega medical staff might give some away to patients. We didn’t expect they’d all be gone.”
Aware of the dangers of postoperative hypothermia, Patti quickly went to work to try and solve the problem. The costs of procuring replacement blankets and shipping them in time for the surgeries was exorbitant, so Patti worked the phones in the hopes that the blankets would turn up.
“Three days into the trip, we discovered the blankets in a rarely used storeroom at the local mission. The La Vega staff doesn’t perform many surgeries while we’re gone, and the hospital doesn’t have room to store heavy blankets. Someone had moved them and hadn’t told us.”
This year’s trip will inevitably bring unforeseen expenses. Our logistics coordinator, Jacqueline Reece, could use your help. Can you help her defray shipping costs this year with a one-time donation of $50?