Yesterday, was an awesome day! We were at the Clinica de Otorrinolaringologia from sunrise to sunset, where the orthopaedic Springfield unit of the Shiners Hospitals for Children had a succesful Spring Clinic. Gosh, we had fun.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is a network of pediatric specialty hospitals, founded by the Shrine, where children under the age of 18 receive excellent medical care absolutely free of charge. Shriners Hospitals are located throughout North America — 20 in the UnitedStates and one each in Mexico and Canada. (I went to the one in Chicago.) These "Centers of Excellence" serve as major referral centers for children with complex orthopaedic and burn problems. A team from the Springfied, Massachussetts unit visits the Dominican Republic twice a year to do these clinics, where they check all the new patients and provide a follow-up for the old, completely free of charge. On a Sunday, they arrive at the Clinica de Otorrinolaringologia (27 de Feb.) at 8am and leave at 6pm, all the while with huge smiles and good cheer. It is truly amazing to watch these people in action, and to be able to lend a hand to the immense good that they do. Our help in their clinics consists of translating between the doctors/nurses and the children & families. We'd communicate the doctors' explanations to the patient/family in Spanish, and interpret the child/family's questions or comments to the doctors in English.
If you would like to participate in the Volunteer Translators group, there is always something to help around with. It truly is a great experience, and most people who go the first time always request to be called every time the Shiners come.
And these people are super fun to work with. They're so cool that the boss of the Orthotics & Prosthetics Dept., which is the group I hang out with most of the day, couldn't come this time, but he sent me a book called Healing Yoga, for People Living with Cancer, and some cool CDs. Thanks to him, I've got Peter Mulvey's "Shirt" on my Top Ten this week.
The next Follow-Up Clinic (this is the full clinic with doctors and all) is in about six months- September or October.
We divide the shifts for volunteers in two: 8am-1pm & 1pm-6pm. But you can also choose to help out the whole day- we wouldn't mind! Lunch is included. :)
If you're curious and would like to check it out or even help with the translations, you can me send an email indicating this. (See address below.)
They're coming again in 5 weeks for a Delivery Clinic, which is when they hand out the new braces and prostheses for the patients they measured yesterday at the Follow-Up. Maybe I could see you there. :)
Volunteer Translator Coordinator
for Shiners Hospitals DR Clinics