Mission trip surgeons volunteer their time year after year to help others. At Enova we admire that. That’s why we have an Enova Mission Program. This program, which has always been part of Enova’s company mission, is designed to provide LED surgical headlights to surgeons who donate their time to perform surgeries in rural and remote countries throughout Central and South America, Asia and Africa.
This issue of Shedding Light focuses on some of the mission trip surgeons we’ve met over the years through the Enova Mission Program. We’ve loaned out LED surgical headlights to hundreds of doctors and dentists for mission trips. We’ve learned a lot from them including what motivates them to spend what could be vacation time, performing surgeries in areas of the world few of us would dare go.
Doctors who volunteer for mission trips are in a breed of their own. Of those surgeons we’ve been fortunate to hear from, they have seen women with late stage breast and cervical cancer in Dakar, children with limb and spine deformities in Honduras, women in Guatemala with uterine fibroids so large they look pregnant, and more.
Why do these physicians volunteer for mission trips?
When we interview mission doctors, we like to ask them why they choose to go on mission trips, what do they get out of volunteering their time and skills. The answers—some of which are shared below—are heart-warming and sincere.
Dr. Noonan: The week in Honduras reminds me why I am a doctor. It’s just the patient, the family and our team working together to make the child better. There are no outside influences such as administration, insurance middlemen, the ability to pay etc. It is the most fundamental and pure physician-patient relationship that can exist. A patient needs help, and we can provide it.
Dr. Robert Gilman: Working on that first trip gave me the opportunity to practice what we do as surgeons and physicians in the purest possible way. Mission work allows us to offer our expertise with no other considerations but to help the people we see.
Dr. Tapia-Santiago: I’ve been going on mission trips for 16 years between the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. Every single trip I gain a sense of renewed faith in my profession. To help patients who, in return, are grateful beyond compare is invigorating. People will compliment me on donating my time, but those patients and families help me just as much, if not more.