Our club-sponsored 10th annual surgical mission to San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala (HOSMOGRESCH Hospital) was accomplished last month with the commitment of 26 volunteers, including five Rotarians, two from our Rotary club. Over 5 operating days there were 43 surgery patients whose lives were changed. And now the hospital operating space will undergo a complete renovations, expansion and facelift.
Opal House-Rotary Orthopedics & Podiatric Surgery, 2024
Dates: March 18-22, 2024.   43 surgeries performed in 5 OR days
            The Opal House-Rotary Medical Mission team has conducted its tenth surgical mission
trip to the Hospital Obras Sociales de Monsignor Gregorio Schaffer (HOSMOGRESCH) in San
Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. The mission or “jornada” was again sponsored by the Fidalgo Island Rotary Club of Anacortes, Washington (www.fidalgorotary.org) and co-hosted by Opal House (www.opalhouseguatemala.com) with additional logistics support from Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare (https://www.gillettechildrens.org), the Podiatry Institute (www.podiatryinstitute.com), the Anaortes Rotary Club, the LaConner Rotary Club and private donors.
            There were Rotarians serving on the team from five different Rotary clubs, including Cameron Bigge from our own Fidalgo Island Rotary Club
            The mission’s primary focus is surgical reconstructive of pediatric limb deformities, primarily of the lower extremity. Surgeries were performed by podiatric surgeons and pediatric orthopedic surgeons. Our veteran team of volunteers also included anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, a team of skilled nurses, a pediatrician, an orthopedic physician assistant, surgical techs, a biomechanical engineer, administrative organizers and support staff.  One of the highlights of the trip is always to reevaluate patients from prior years.  The structural and functional improvement of our past clubfoot reconstruction patients is again astonishing.  As podiatrists, mission work is very rewarding.  In twisting around a poor child’s clubfoot, we help give them a chance at a normal life.  Seeing patients through this life-changing transformation is special. Five of our patients had surgery on their second foot after having surgery on their first foot last year.
The HOSMOGRESCH serves more than 34,000 people locally, mostly who are Mayan,
without discrimination of any sort. Patients were procured via the local clinics and networks of
Dr. Tun and Dr. Boegel. As our former patients have spread the word and informed others in
their communities about our mission, more patients seem to find us each year.
well with minimal or no pain.
Pathology encountered included torsional extremity disorders, nonunions, malunions, hip
dislocations, osteomyelitis, hardware for removal, tumors, cerebral palsy, clubfeet (virgin, rigid,
neglected, residual and partially corrected), isolated equinus, and amniotic bands (Streeters). In 5 OR days, the team performed over 100 surgical procedures on 43 patients.  Ponseti casting was again performed and taught to local therapists. Several patients had an Achilles tenotomy in conjunction with casting.
Our team maximized the visit by working 12-13 hours each day so we could have the largest impact as safely as possible.  Unfortunately, we had to turn away 5 surgical candidates due to time constraints.  The need for surgical treatment remains great. 
The HOSMOGRESCH hospital is in good working order and currently undergoing hospital remodel with the goal of expanding Pre-Op and PACU wards and OR capacity.  We have been providing surgeon input to help with the expansion plans.  We remain devoted to the patients in Guatemala and the efforts of Drs. Raphael Tun and William Boegel.
Stephen Miller, DPM
Carl Kihm, DPM
Team Co-Leaders - 2024