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Returning To The Field

After an almost three-year hiatus primarily due to COVID, CHRISTUS Operation San José returned to the field visiting CHRISTUS Muguerza Hospital in Chihuahua, Mexico, the location of the 2020 trip. A number of patients during 2020 required multiple surgeries which were unable to be performed due to time restrictions. The return to Chihuahua would allow the team to complete the remaining surgeries, in addition to attending to new patients. Led by program director Dr. Michael Lypka, a team of 19 medical staff performed 21 surgeries over the 7-day trip with two surgical rooms running simultaneously for three days.

For two Operation San José nurses, it was a thrill to return with the trip this past October. A registered nurse from Kansas City, Katie Meyer has volunteered for the last five mission trips. “I was a former scrub nurse for Dr. Lypka, and he told me about the trip,” Meyer said. “It felt so good to be back and doing what I love. I loved experiencing Mexico again with my team members and enjoyed meeting all the new patients!”

A pediatric nurse practitioner from Kansas City, Haley Mize was invited by Dr. Lypka in 2018 for the Zacapu trip and has volunteered on the three trips. For Mize, this trip had a new meaning. “This was my first trip since becoming a mom, so I felt a different level of connection and obligation to the patients, especially since so many were around my son’s age.”

For both Meyer and Mize, it is the patients that keep them returning every year. “The patients and their families all have a special place in my heart,” Meyer said.

For Mize, the Operation San José trips have been fulfilling. “It’s a great feeling to be able to provide these surgeries to patients who might otherwise never have the opportunity to do so. And to see the joy on the patients’ and families’ faces at the post-op clinic is priceless.”

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