Honduras 2012: Highlights

 The Operation Walk Pittsburgh Team returned home this weekend after the most successful effort in our history.  Despite the obstacles the team faced with steralization, they set new records for screening clinic time, total patients who received operations, hip replacements, total surgeries (for a solo Op Walk Pittsburgh trip), and volunteer projects.  San Pedro Sula was our first self-developed site and a first of its kind medical mission for Honduras, adding an extra element of accomplishment for both Operation Walk Pittsburgh and our hosts.

We would like to acknowledge the amazing support from Hospital Bendana, its staff and administration, the Boquin Family, the Bendana Family, Alexis Ramirez and his wife, the entire Usula Rotary and their families, and the staff at the Hilton San Pedro Sula.  This group of local supporters all played a very significant role in making us feel a part of their community and family during our stay in San Pedro Sula.

Operation Walk Pittsburgh added a 5th surgical day to the schedule this year to help meet the goals of our trip.  Despite some of the obstacles and long hours required by the volunteers, the entire team, both from Pittsburgh and Honduras, pulled together to accomplish one of our best efforts to date.  As the last surgeries of the morning were being completed, a press conference was held to announce the following results of our week long efforts:

Clinic: 73 Patients seen in 2.5 hours-Fastest in OpWalkPgh history
Patients: 53 patients (21 Males, 32 Females)-Most in OpWalkPgh history
Surgeries: 59 surgeries-2nd Most in OpWalkPgh history

  With the surgeries over, the team went to work packing up all the supplies and preparing patients for discharge.  Leaders from Operation Walk Pittsburgh and Honduras met to begin planning a return trip in 2013.  Tearful hugs, thank yous, and pictures were exchanged by Operation Walk volunteers, patients, and staff as the friendships and bonds that formed over just a few days were hard to leave.
As an added bonus, there was a special surprise today as the Junior Rotary Club of Honduras came to Hospital Bendana with a humbling gift.  They had set aside money to celebrate their 1st anniversary as an organization, but instead, decided to purchase pillows for all the patient beds as the hospital did not have enough for each patient. That this group of young adults (ages 12-18) gave up a party they had been planning to help other less fortunate Hondurans brought tears to the eyes of many team members.
We hope to return in Honduras next summer to complete our work as we establish San Pedro Sula as a long-term destination for both Operation Walk Pittsburgh and other chapters from around the United States and Canada.