A group of volunteers from Barry University recently joined Dr. Eric J. Stelnicki and his father, Barry trustee Dr. James Stelnicki, on a medical mission trip to Georgetown, Guyana.
The trip was funded in-part by Children’s Health and Rehabilitative Missions (CHARM), a non-profit organization established by Dr. Eric J. Stelnicki. The mission to Guyana, a small South American nation with only one plastic surgeon for its entire population, has an urgent need for pediatric reconstructive surgery and podiatric care.
Together, these medical teams provided in-country medical and nursing education. Through this, the team ultimately hopes to achieve long-term sustainability for providing reconstructive and surgical care on a continual basis in Guyana. The group ended up seeing more than 100 patients and performed around 35 surgeries.
During the week-long mission trip, volunteers from Barry’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the School of Podiatric Medicine – which included Dr. Rebecca Lee, Dr. Tony Umadhay and Dr. Jorge Valdes as the nurse anesthetist faculty, and nurse practitioner Jamelah Morton - all partnered with the doctors in providing care to the Guyanese people and presented several educational medical lectures to hospital staff.
This included the treating and fixing of emergency medical issues, such as ulcers, bone infections and foot-related problems. One case in particular involved a woman who had an injured foot and was not able to stand for three years. While in Guyana, the group performed surgery on the foot so that the woman would be able to walk again.
Additionally, the group was able to impart valuable knowledge and medical skills to the people of Guyana in order to enable the locals to continue their work in helping children in need.
“Our aim is to perform desperately needed surgeries that otherwise would not be possible,” said Dr. Eric Stelnicki, a Fort Lauderdale-based pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon who led the medical mission to Guyana.
The Humanitarian Aid Program and Department of Defense with the United States Embassy assisted the team in making this trip successful. The U.S. Embassy and the Ministry of Health in Guyana facilitated in transporting supplies, security and safety, and helped organize the trip.
In the long term, Stelnicki and Barry University volunteers hope to continue training practicing physicians, medical professionals and nursing students to make this care more widely available.