Inside Internal Medicine - Volume 4 Article 1
Quillen College of Medicine student volunteers head to Guatemala
Four medical student volunteers, Whitney Pittman, Jacqueline Zimmerman, Tyler King and Mark Mitchell took part in a forty volunteer team to bring medical care to the rural area of Pacaya, Guatemala. Under the direction of Dr. Rebecca Copeland and Dr. Min Jin these students along with 40 other mission volunteers, sponsored by Central Baptist Church in Johnson City helped provide medical and dental care to almost 900 patients. Central Baptist Church has been involved in missions to Latin America for the past seventeen years. O ne of the main struggles for the indigenous peoples of Pacaya is with access to healthcare. According to the students, their clinics were a first time medical visit for many of the inhabitants of the area.
Now in its’ third year to this location, the June trip marked the first time two medical clinics would be provided for the people of the village of Pacaya through the camp these volunteers set up. Former pastor of Johnson City Central Baptist Church and Volunteer Team Leader, Ron Murray stated, “They just don’t have access to good medical care there so to be able to offer that medical care with the help of these students was just an answer to prayers.”
This was a first time trip for the students to travel to the Guatemalan village to assist the people of that region. Roughly, 75 percent of the patients visiting the clinic were children. Second year medical student, Jacqueline Zimmerman was able to correctly diagnose four-month-old twins both with pneumonia ultimately saving their lives.
Overall, the medical team treated a lot of abdominal complaints and diarrhea, likely parasite related. “We arrived as medical students and came back as doctors,” stated Internal Medicine Quillen College of Medicine Group President, Mark Mitchell. Most of these people have never been out of their tiny village at the base of the active volcano, Pacaya, let alone, had access to medical care. According to Murray, “The medical students exhibited a sincere compassion, emotional maturity and a high level of medical competence throughout the seven scheduled clinic days.”