Medical resident Dr. Kelley Dilliard gives a knee injection to a patient under Dr. Michael Ladewski’s guidance. Credit: Courtesy AMITA Health

AMITA Health extends the healing ministry of Christ abroad

Hospital staff are committed to not only serve those in the local community, but also internationally as well. Last November, a team of 38 AMITA Health associates and physicians traveled to El Salvador for a week to treat those in need.   

“This team truly embraced the call in their hearts to serve others,” said Ann Marie Niemer, RN-BC, System director of Ambulatory Care Management. “We spent the week setting up medical clinics in areas of extreme poverty. We listened to patients’ concerns, prescribed medications, performed procedures and, most importantly, we extended the healing ministry of Jesus to all.”

At one site, a woman came running into the medical clinic with her 5-year-old daughter, Sonia, who was having a febrile seizure. In the 93-degree heat in El Salvador, the missionaries quickly sprang to action, taking the little girl to the only air-conditioned room at the school where they had set up the medical clinic. 

The physicians and nurses started an IV and, thankfully, the seizures stopped before the 15-minute critical mark. Assisting was Dr. Rema Johnson, an emergency medicine physician, and Heidie Cruz, an ER patient care technician, translated for the mother and father, who were clearly distraught because this was Sonia’s first experience with a seizure.  

Nurse Katherine Lluen-Nunez came from the pharmacy with medications and administered them. Once little Sonia woke up, the team made a toy for her by blowing up a purple examination glove as a balloon. Sonia took the “balloon” and hugged it. 

Credit: Courtesy AMITA Health
Credit: Courtesy AMITA Health

The physicians asked the mother to bring Sonia to see them the next day and gave her $20 to pay for the transportation to get there. They arrived the next day and had been keeping up the medication schedule as directed. Sonia appeared as perky as ever. The family took pictures with the providers and thanked everyone for their help. 

“Looking back at each day, it’s easy to see that God’s fingerprints were all over each moment,” said Dr. Johnson. “He had us all in His palm all day long.” 

This was the third international mission trip for Karen Moore, RNC-OB, director of Women & Infant Services, who said she feels an innate need to give to others and spread the word of Jesus.

“We served close to 400 people a day who waited in long lines under the beating sun and stifling heat just to be seen by American medical providers. And, there was not one complaint!” Moore said. “It makes me feel grateful for clean water, safe food, a job and the ability to have access to great health care, because many of the people we served in El Salvador that week had none of these. I make it a point to thank Jesus every day for all of my blessings and commit to Him that I will honor these blessings by giving my time, talents and finances to those less fortunate by no fault of their own.”

Julie Busch, associate vice president, AMITA Health