Angels in Medicine

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Note: I am in the midst of redesigning the website, so many of these articles will appear in the old format. -- Editor

Doctor posing with patients and family in the Andes
global health
Women for World Health: Saving the World, One Patient at a Time
"After the successful surgery, the little girl returned three or four days later. She brought a picture of her class at school, with her in it. It was the only thing she had of herself, and she wanted the doctors to remember her by it...."
Doctor with mother and child
refugee health
Travel Log: Dr. Randall Jacobs and Medical Teams International in Uganda
"An eight-year-old Congolese refugee arrived with extensive burns.... Part of his ring finger was badly damaged from a bore hole pump. We were able to shorten his finger and close the wound. He was so incredibly brave and did not complain for a moment. He expressed his thanks in French as he left."
Doctor consoling an infant
global health
Our Chance International: Ghana 2009
What draws people to travel for almost 24 hours in order to work 12-hour days without compensation? "It just grounds me", said Jill Stoller, MD, a pediatrician from New Jersey and medical director for Our Chance International...
Patient with her family
ophthalmology
Orbis International: Eye Doctors Wing it to Volunteer in Developing Countries
Look, up in the sky, it's an eye hospital on a DC-10 airplane! Its mission: to fly to poor parts of the world where eye care is desperately needed.
Doctor and assistant performing surgery
rural health
Amazon Promise: Sustainable Health for Peru
Patty Webster is not a medical professional. But one day, while working as a tour guide in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, she found herself using a traveler's sewing kit to close a wound on a boy from a local village...
Patients lined up for care
care for the poor
Remote Area Medical: Making Global House Calls
Motivated by his experiences, Stan Brock, known from his work on the original Wild Kingdom show, came up with the concept of an all-volunteer healthcare program that would provide free services to people in need in remote parts of the world. In 1985, RAM was born, with a mission to provide free medical, dental, vision, and veterinary care to underserved people living in isolated areas within the United States and around the world.
Three nurses
cardiology
The Hearts and Minds of Ghana
Ghana has only one cardiologist for every million inhabitants. There are only two pediatric cardiologists in all of Ghana, but no pediatric cardiac surgeons. Children born with heart defects have no hope of cure. The team from Children's Hospital Boston wants to change that.
Priest with mother and child
tropical disease
Fighting Poverty by Treating Parasites
The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases is an example of what happens when academia, the public and private sector collaborate successfully to fulfill the wishes implicit in one of Dr. Sabin's quotes: "A scientist who is also a human being cannot rest while knowledge which might reduce suffering rests on the shelf."
Doctor and patient. Photo by Steve Mason
prison healthcare
The Smallest of These: Project Niños
How do children end up in the prison with their parents? It happens when the mother or father is sentenced to serve a prison term and there is no one outside the prison who can care for the children. In the case of the men's prison, San Pedro, the entire family -- wives and children -- often lives in the prison when the husband is incarcerated.
Doctor examining baby
aids
Treating Pediatric AIDS Globally
"The children would typically be brought in wrapped in blankets that covered their wasted bodies, near death, malnourished and needing medical attention immediately. They were treated in the hospital for two weeks, survived, got started on treatment, and six months later would be doing well..."
Tracy Maltz standing with the President of Tanzania and his staff
orthopedic medicine
The Power of One
Crutches were everywhere. They were stacked against the walls. They were stacked next to her desk. Every available space was taken. Dr. Maltz's office had become a storage room. It was all for a good cause, and she didn't have any regrets. But something had to be done.
Paul Gardner and a patient in Paraguay
plastic surgery
Operation Smile from a Surgeon's Perspective: Dr. Paul Gardner
"In most of the places we go, people with birth defects are shunned by society. Early on, they become reclusive; they don't get a chance to become normal kids."
Blind man and child
tropical medicine
Neglected Tropical Diseases and Drug Donation Programs: Successes and Challenges
The successful treatment of onchocerciasis (also known as river blindness), the world’s second leading infectious cause of blindness, illustrates the medical benefits of corporate giving. Merck was the first company to make such a commitment, by donating Mectizan, a human formulation of the veterinary drug ivermectin, for the treatment of river blindness in sub-Saharan Africa.
Children of Nepal
rural health
Nyaya Health: Improving Healthcare in Western Nepal
The clinic building is ideally located: it sits above the flood plain, at the end of the only paved road leading into Achham. It was originally a 1200 square foot grain shed. But it was structurally sound, and the owner was agreeable to its transformation. On April 7, 2008 the former grain shed doors opened as a new clinic with a delivery suite, pharmacy, counseling room, procedure room, laboratory and storage room.
Virginia Carbonell teaching respiratory physiotherapy to local health promotors
rural health
Dr. Lanny Smith and Doctors for Global Health
For Dr. Lanny Smith, the pivotal moment came when he traveled to Nicaragua in 1985 with a peacemaking group and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. In a "life-changing experience," Dr. Smith lived with a Nicaraguan family and experienced firsthand the living conditions of poor Nicaraguans, as well as the political climate. "We heard gunfire every day..."
A village women's group in action
book excerpt
The New Humanitarians: Inspiration, Innovations and Blueprints for Visionaries
Welcome to a trip around the world. You will travel to six continents, led by men and women of various ages and backgrounds. Be warned, you may go to some fairly desperate places, but they all have a seed of hope. You will not be traveling as a tourist, but rather as an activist with more than three dozen organizations —- each one incredible.
Danielle Butin with repurposed wheelchairs
medical supplies
Danielle Butin: Following Her Signposts to Improving Global Healthcare
In February, duffel bags filled with supplies went with a surgical mission to New Delhi, and sutures were sent to Liberia to support Physicians for Peace in their efforts at cleft palate repair. On March 13, the first 40-foot container of unused medical supplies left for Haiti to support the work of Partners in Health.
When the rivers are too deep to drive through, alternate and creative ways are found to get trucks and team members across
rural health
Jeff Solheim, RN, Penny Edwards, and Project Helping Hands
The luckier groups wake up at four in the morning to stand in line. Others arrive after walking for two days. They all come to receive free health care or dental work, and they all leave after being treated by a physician, nurse, or dentist. More importantly, they walk away with an education.
Nurse auxiliary graduates
rural health
Doing More with Less: Dr. Emily Dow and Doctors of the World in Chiapas, Mexico
The partnership between DOW and the Hospital San Carlos in Altamirano, Chiapas, began in 1994 when the Zapatista uprising led to the mass departure of local healthcare workers in response to the unrest and violence. Nearly half of the citizens in Chiapas are indigenous Mayan, and a quarter of the population does not speak Spanish. With a history of neglect and discrimination, this community already suffered from high rates of malnutrition, maternal mortality, and tuberculosis.
Steven Lin and Elizabeth Chao
infectious disease
Treating a Stealthy Killer: Hep B Free at the Pacific Free Clinic
Beginning with only free screening and counseling, the clinic has been an unqualified success. It now offers a full range of free services, from screening to immunizations to treatment referral and follow-up care. All are dedicated to providing education and care to this underserved community.
A happy patient
dental care
Medical Teams International and the Mobile Dental Program
Over 600 students fill the classrooms of Vose Elementary School, in Beaverton, Oregon, a diverse student body in a district where 61 different languages are represented. But there is one issue that unites many of the students -- lack of dental care. And so, on a cold winter day, students venture outside to a large Winnebago in the school parking lot.
Dr. Jill Ginsberg and patient
free clinic
Jill Ginsberg, MD, and the North by Northeast Community Health Center
Like people all over the US, many residents of Oregon lack medical insurance. They often skimp on or skip entirely the medication they need, and they use the emergency room when their symptoms can no longer be ignored. Fortunately for the people in north and northeast Portland, Oregon, Dr. Jill Ginsberg is motivated by her faith and inspired by her mentors to serve the uninsured and underserved.
Serle Epstein examining a patient
rural health
Serle Epstein, MD, and the Mission Clinic of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Ecuador
Perhaps it was serendipity. Perhaps it was how God answered the Padre's prayers. Perhaps it was just meant to be.
Dr. Samuel So with children in Qinghai
infectious disease
Passionate About Preventing Hepatitis B: Dr. Samuel So, the Asian Liver Center, and the Jade Ribbon Campaign
Sam has traveled to parts of China with the greatest burden of hepatitis B to provide catch up doses for children. In partnership with student interns and support of the local government, Sam was able to immunize over 100,000 preschool- and kindergarten-aged children with the entire hepatitis B series.
Alex at her first lemonade stand
fundraising
Alex's Lemonade Stand
Like many kids her age, four-year old Alex Scott set up a lemonade stand in her front yard to earn some extra money. What sets Alex apart from her peers is that she did not want to spend the money on some new toy. Rather, she planned to donate the proceeds from her lemonade sales to "her hospital" to help her doctors find a cure for childhood cancer.
Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, MD
surgical care
FOCOS: World-Class Orthopedist Brings the Caring Home
And then, in the mid-1990s, Boachie-Adjei went home, but not alone. He brought along an entire orthopedic team. Using his own money for startup costs, Boachie-Adjei established a foundation providing orthopedic spine services to people in Ghana, Barbados and other countries unable to afford adequate medical care.
A sealant team
dental care
Something to Smile About: Drs. Jim Cecil and M. Raynor Mullins and Seal Kentucky
"A child cannot grow, learn, or develop at a normal rate if they have these types of problems. That's where we get our sense of mission."
Dr. Kline and smiling children in Malawi
aids
Dr. Mark Kline and the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative
Together with modern drug therapy, Dr. Kline wanted to bring simple procedural changes into the clinics and healthful social changes in their communities.
Providing home care
community care
Kisumu Medical and Education Trust of Kenya
KMET workers make sure to empower the community. They involve them in family planning, community-based service, distribute contraceptives and educate the community.
Care with a smile
free clinic
The Least of These: Lackey Free Family Medicine Clinic
The Lackey Free Clinic provides primary health care, chronic disease management, and counseling to an average of 1000 individuals per year, all available at no cost to patients.
Kathy Majette with a boy named Tola in Belarus. Photo by Marc
Ascher
plastic surgery
When You're Smilin': Kathy Majette, RN, and Operation Smile
"I wish everybody had the chance to have the feeling -- that feeling when the parents see their child for the first time. The doors open, the parents run, everybody else in the ward runs, just to get a look at that child. . . it's just so exciting. It never gets old."
They Called Them Angels
book excerpt
They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War II
"He said he was just under 18, but he didn't look more than 16. His ship sunk, a tanker I think, and there was flaming oil everywhere. He was a mass of scars, and some of his fingers were burned off. Most of his body was burned. He was the most pathetic thing you ever saw, but it didn't make me sick because I knew I could talk to him and the other patients would crack jokes with him."
Homeless 2
homeless health
Samaritans in Ohio: The Samaritan Homeless Clinic
Tucked into the cozy Midwest, famous for Buckeye football and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio seems like an unlikely place to confront homelessness.
Annie De Groot, MD
aids
How We Value a Life: Doctors' Attitudes Make a Difference
I remember hearing my words translated into Bambara for a woman who does not exist any more. On that day in my memory, that woman, dressed in black, held a boy child in her lap.
Woman in Bolivian Jail
rural health
Healthcare Missions Take Flight: Flying Doctors of America
Try envisioning a group of volunteer healthcare professionals who gather up their supplies, pack up a donated private airplane, and head to a prison in Bolivia to provide healthcare to more than 1200 children who accompany their imprisoned parents in jail.
Melissa and friends
book excerpt
There Is No Me Without You
"Who was going to raise twelve million children? That's what I suddenly wanted to know. There were days that Donny and I thought we'd be driven insane by five children."
Children at Tam Binh Orphanage
aids
Sharing Pediatric HIV Experience with the Third World: Philip LaRussa, MD, and Andrea Jurgrau, CPNP
"After you've been driving for two or three hours in the countryside, the first thing you see is all this white. You can't figure out what it is until you get close. It's all the little white crosses for the kids that have died."
Woman in Teal, by Tammy Williams (Federal Prison Camp, Alderson, West Virginia)
prison health
Saving Lives in Massachusetts: Barbara McGovern and the Treatment of HIV and Hepatitis C in Prison
For women who are in prison for a long period of time who receive the "right things" -- good psychiatric care, good medical care, frequent communication with the case manager -- there can be positive connections with people, and potentially these patients can turn around their lives.
Rainbow Dolls
aids
Caring for AIDS Orphans: Jane Aronson and the WWO
One of the most tragic aspects of the global HIV epidemic affects those left behind. These are the orphans of parents who died from AIDS, or children abandoned because their parents were too sick to care for them.
W. Ramos, untitled, 1997
prison health
Hepatitis C in Prison: An Interview with Dr. Rena Fox
"We should take patients as they are, without the stigma of prison."
Smoking Man
public health activism
Antismoking Advocate for the World: Dr. Judith Longstaff Mackay
"One of the three most dangerous people in the world!" Over the years, Dr. Mackay has implemented many tobacco control programs, and focuses on the empowerment of nations to regulate this global health threat.
Burmese Refugee Camps
orphan rangers
Orphans in China
Most children in Chinese orphanages are abandoned anonymously and nothing is known of their background. Many of the children were dressed to cover as much skin as possible and hide unsightly rashes from prospective parents.
angels in our midst
Making a Home for Homeless Women
Dr. Roseanna Means addresses issues relevant to homeless women in Boston, which include the threat of violence, sexual abuse, and child-care responsibilities.
angels in our midst
Summer Camp for Children With Heart Disease
Starting from scratch, a physician and nurse built a free camp so that children with heart disease can experience the joys of being a child.
angels in our midst
Taking Healthcare to School
The best way to provide healthcare to adolescents may be to bring it to them.
angels in our midst
Training Villagers to Become Healthcare Workers
Improved healthcare in underdeveloped countries starts with education.
angels in our midst
Special Delivery
How can you get unused HIV meds from the Bronx to Guatemala?
angels on the web
Free Flight for Patients in Need
Pilots donate time and money for free air travel on private aircraft for the poor or those too ill for regular flights.
angels on the web
Music Makes the World Go 'Round
Today, the medical profession recognizes the value of art -- music, drawing, sculpting, and writing -- in the healing or palliative care of a wide variety of patients: the chronically or terminally ill, the disabled, the neurologically impaired, and the mentally challenged.
angels on the web
Helping Children and Their Families Cope With AIDS
Improving the quality of life of HIV-infected children, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged, is the mission of several organizations that are donating their time, efforts, and financial resources to help these youngsters cope with their disease.
angels in our midst
Support for When Meningitis Strikes
Several organizations are promoting awareness of meningitis and its grave, sometimes life-threatening consequences.
angels in our midst
Charitable Organizations Dedicated to Preventing Blindness
For many blind people, money is the only obstacle to restoring their vision.

Angels in Medicine is a volunteer site dedicated to the humanitarians, heroes, angels, and bodhisattvas of medicine. The site features physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other healthcare workers and volunteers who reach people without the resources or opportunities for quality care, such as teens, the poor, the incarcerated, the elderly, or those living in poor or war-torn regions. Read their stories at www.medangel.org.

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