Author: Susan Torchen, CRNA, Short Hills Surgery Center

I traveled to Guatemala City, Guatemala in May 2018 with a team from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia composed of one general surgeon, one plastic surgeon, three anesthesiologists, one nurse anesthetist (myself), several nurses and nurse practitioners. While in Guatemala, we were able to deliver specialized surgical care to children in need of cleft lip, palate and general surgical needs.

During our mission trip, the team performed around 62 operations on children ranging in age from 3 months to 19 years old. Whether big or small, the kindness and warmth of the children and their guardians radiated. The smiles, hugs and happy tears were all the motivation we needed for the week. I was so honored to be able to work with a team who with great pride and compassion were truly able to change the lives of these wonderful children and their families forever.

Our group came together as a part of the CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) surgical mission trip. CHOP joins with Partners for Surgery each year. Partners for Surgery  run the hospital and identifies the patients in Guatemala prior to the teams’ arrival. We individually raised money for the mission trip and outside donors gave directly to CHOP to support this work.

I am thankful for the experience, the supplies and charitable donation received from Short Hills Surgery Center to better provide for the patients on this mission trip.