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Rick Wood, Worldwide Biomedical Charitable Services…


Rick Wood is the most experienced missionary biomedical technician I know.  He and wife Jennie were Technical Exchange for Christian Healthcare, Inc.(TECH) members and have been a strong influence in improving quality of donations and appropriate technology through our first ministry MedEquip Missions and now Vine International.  Rick with short notice asked my help in setting up a trip to Santa Cruz el Quiche for a project of Worldwide Biomedical Charitable Services with Agape in Action (AIA).  {please check my friends out}   AIA has used Vine International bodega for a few years.  Dr Jim Street would plunder our anesthesia aisle.  Retiring he introduced us to a couple that are a delight to work with, Paul and Lindsey both Guatemalan doctors.  Cindy and I have never had a chance to go see their work and I offered if I could go that Vine International would provide their chauffeur and limousine service (me and a beat up blue diesel Mitsubishi van).

Agape in Action works in the department of Quiche.  This region was severally effected by the 30 yr civil war.  Atrocities have left too many widows and orphans and a lot of pain in the region.  Dr. Paul and Dra. Lindsey do 21 satellite clinics in rural areas, each clinic done in a local church.  Paul would rather be a preacher.  Ervin and Sally York are AIA folks on the ground.  Ervin works hard and long hours doing a number of things.  Sally led us on a tour of the national hospital.  She seemed to be well received by the hospital staff.  Sally is very good at developing interpersonal relationships – an important skill here in Guatemala and particularly among rural Mayan populations.  Rick went back on Saturday with Daisy our translator and we evaluated a few machines, most beyond our ability to fix at the time.  He then finished his assessment of the physical plant and we had lunch and spent some time in fellowship with the Yorks and Beny, the head maintenance man at the hospital.  It is always a joy to share stories with friends in mission.

Now we try to look at trips like this from Vine International side and try to help other friends on the way.  What that looks like is this.   Up early to IHOP in zone 10 Guatemala City to meet with Berta from Moore Pediatric Surgical Center and Dr. Cynthia Paschal a biomedical engineer to talk about biomedical services in Guatemala and do some planning for a future service team of biomedical engineers from Vanderbilt.  Then we took three walkers to Casa Angelina, one of which was needed immediately by a local elderly widow they serve through Mercy Clinic and Rick got the quick tour.   On to Quiche and the main project with AIA, back on Sunday morning stopping at ASELSI just north of Chichicastenango to evaluate an EKG, and two diagnostic ultrasounds.  Meantime we also received request from Hope Haven to please stop by and tour their new warehouse and discuss some vision/ideas with Mark Richard.  It was a joy to see Mark – we have known of each others work for over 15 yrs.  We may get some opportunities to work a little closer in the future.  Hope Haven provides jobs to wheelchair bound Guatemalans to manufacture wheelchairs.  They have designed a pediatric chair and do projects here in Guatemala, Central America, Caribbeans, South America and Asia I believe.  The new facility has extra space and they are exploring some options about adding medical and dental clinics.  Back home late Sunday and up Monday, met Ben Martin 7:00am at the bodega, loading a cattle truck with two pallets bound for Hospital Shalom in Peten, back home pick up Rick and down to the city to tour Moore Pediatric Surgical Center, and meeting with AIA staff to discuss initial Worldwide Biomedical Charitable Services report.  Back to the bodega, change battery in the forklift, let Rick survey our testing equipment and tools looking to future internship program for biomedical engineers and technicians…that brings me up to right now.  I am heading to bed because we are up at 4:00 in the morning to meet Joe Leier and do a project at a Christian Hospital in San Raymundo trying to get electrosurgical units going before an Italian surgical team goes to work.  We will also do installation of part of their rather large dental service.  It will be another long day, another short night and get Rick to airport on Wednesday to return to Michigan.  As you can see we really try to abuse , I mean get as much out of skilled people like Rick as we can while they were here.   Good night…

Please enjoy the photos linked here – some are Rick’s and some are mine.

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

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