Nicaragua, Physicians for Peace

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Last October, I was invited to travel to Nicaragua with Physicians for Peace as the photographer/videographer on a burn care mission the following May. Physicians for Peace is an organization that sends trained medical professionals from the U.S. and other countries to provide medical education and guidance to trainees in countries with underserved populations. Their motto is “Train one. Heal many.” It’s a network of medical training, starting with leading professionals in a specific field (IMEs, or International Medical Educators) that spread their knowledge and techniques to local medical professionals, who then continue to teach what they’ve learned.

The team being sent to Managua, Nicaragua was from hospitals all over the U.S. to share their expertise with a team of trainees from all over Central America. Mostly physical therapists, they focused on different methods of scar therapy and molding face masks in the burn care unit called APROQUEN (Asociación Pro Niños Quemados de Nicaragua – trans: Association for burned children of Nicaragua).

When I was invited to document specific cases, I was both nervous and excited. I’d never shot in a hospital before, and I had been warned about the severity of the burns I might encounter. As intense and shocking as it was to see the serious conditions of the patients, I was incredibly humbled and gracious to be a part of such a good cause. The following photos summarize the mission. The full album can been viewed at Wanderlust Photography’s facebook page here.

Babyburns

In Central America, the majority of children’s burns are hot-liquid related cases.

Babyburns2

APROQUEN – stands for the Asociación Pro Niños Quemados de Nicaragua

Babyburns3

Mothers and their burned children seeking medical attention at APROQUEN.

Trainees

Trainees from El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras listening intently to the U.S. medical professionals.

 

Wilber

Wilber is six years old and was burned by open flame in his back yard. Second and third degree burns cover 30% of his body. He lost 20% of the cartilage in his right ear, so PFP made a mold to help separate the back of ear from his head so he can comfortably wear a face mask.

 

The PFP team and trainees prep the patient, Yader, for a face mask molding.

The PFP team and trainees prep the patient, Yader, for a face mask molding. Yader’s accident occurred on the worksite where gasoline spilled all over him and while starting a chainsaw, it sparked and caught him on fire, causing burns and keloid scars on 40% of his body.

 

Ingrid Parry, an Occupational Therapist from Shriner's Hospital, preps Yader's face with vaseline.

Ingrid Parry, an Physical Therapist and Burn Care Specialist from Shriner’s Hospital, preps Yader’s face with vaseline.

The PFP team pours plaster on Yader's face to mold his mask.

Yader in the process of getting a face-mold created.

After his initial feelings of self consciousness and embarrassment, he thanked the IME's (International Medical Educators) for their work on his mask, explaining how he's no longer going to hide behind compression garments and bandanas. "I'm looking forward to stepping out in society again, applying for jobs and creating a future for myself," he stated.

After his initial feelings of self consciousness and embarrassment, he thanked the IME’s (International Medical Educators) for their work on his mask, explaining how he’s no longer going to hide behind compression garments and bandanas. “I’m looking forward to stepping out in society again, applying for jobs and creating a future for myself,” he stated.

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