"So many life-changing events in 10 days."
Returning from Pucallpa, Peru, I shared with my parents that it was the most rewarding thing I'd done in a decade, and thanked them profusely for their support. There were so many life-changing events in 10 days. We saw 150 patients in the clinic and accomplished 25 surgeries on patients with remarkable need. I felt the devastation of seeing people graciously say thank you for a corticosteroid injection when they so desperately needed a total knee replacement. I found incredible camaraderie with two former U of M residents I worked with, Drs. Jason Caron and John Wechter, previous scholarship recipients who were still going each year. This fueled my desire to become an annual team member myself.
I learned so much regarding surgery, hospital partnership, and teamwork. I felt the excitement of putting in a SIGN nail for a tibia fracture, and the relief I felt the next morning when x-rays indicated good alignment. I saw new pathology, operated in uniquely challenging circumstances, and helped people with distinct need.
Ten years before, I had left Africa with a clear vision of orthopaedic need in the developing world. This vision pulled me from my beloved family in Colorado in pursuit of training. This sacrifice has been real for everyone, but this trip to Peru reaffirmed how blessed I am to be a University of Minnesota Department of Orthopaedic Surgery resident with strong department support for pursuing my dream of orthopaedic missions.
Team Member Questionnaire
If you are interested in joining a future mission team, please fill out our Team Member Questionnaire and email to the attention of Esteban Cardona.