Medical missions: NCH doctors answer the call for quality healthcare in remote areas
November 29, 2017
NCH Medical Group Emergency Medicine Physician Joe Gorz, D.O., travels to Peru each year with the goal of providing a sustainable medical mission. He is working with the local government to secure property, develop blueprints and ultimately build a three-story clinic.
Dr. Gorz, a Family Medicine Physician at the Schaumburg ICC, plans to put together a Kickstarter campaign to fund his next trip, the 10th annual, and he’s encouraging other NCH physicians to join him. Doctors pay their own way and volunteer their services.
“We’re talking about putting a Peace Corps office there to try to get people to really come together, not just for medicine but socioeconomic efforts to really move forward in the area,” Dr. Gorz says.
To date over 16,000 patients have been treated in the Amazon jungle of Peru. Over $2 million dollars in medication and medical supplies have been brought to rural people in the Amazon jungle.
Dr. Gorz’s wife, Sarah Shook, D.O., Obstetrician/Gynecologist, has joined him on some of his trips, which started when Dr. Gorz was a medical student. They’ve partnered with agencies such as Rotary International and Michigan State University to improve water quality and provide a fully funded endowment for one medical student to attend the trip each year. Robust research includes sampling river water and providing filters.
The 2018 medical mission is looking for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, ENT and OB/GYN to join them in August. Other volunteers are welcome. For more information, contact Dr. Gorz at 224-330-4570 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Malcolm Bilimoria, M.D., Surgical Oncologist, returned from his third medical mission trip to India in August. He was accompanied by Marco Fernandez, M.D., Anesthesiologist, and Physician Assistants Allison Soward and Katie Weiner. They performed surgeries in a rural clinic and telecasted to an auditorium where 20 surgeons could ask questions in real time through a microphone. The group plans to go back next year.
“All of the patients we operated on were incredibly thankful, as were their families,” says Weiner. “We did four complete surgeries: head and neck cancer, rectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer procedures. We had more operations planned, but unfortunately some had to be canceled last minute due to illnesses going around.”
Randy McCool, M.D., Obstetrician/Gynecologist, has a special attachment to Guatemala where he adopted his daughter. Last year he took her there to see her birth country and that’s when he discovered the needs of the indigenous people. Two public health issues struck him: people were sleeping on the ground and they didn’t have clean water.
He’ll take a team to Antigua next August to provide bunk beds with washable mattresses and metal frames, and ceramic water filter containers people can use for cooking and cleaning.
“These filters will last for a long time after we leave the area,” Dr. McCool says. “They will help reduce waterborne illnesses.”
Dr. McCool is hoping for 20 to 30 volunteers; medical or non-medical professionals are encouraged to consider the opportunity.
“Anybody can do this project,” Dr. McCool says. “They don’t need specialized skills to make a difference.”