San Salvador, El Salvador

Medical Outreach: Saving a Life in El Salvador

  • March 17, 2015
  • Health Initiatives, Access to Medicines, Newsroom, Latin America and Caribbean

In the early morning hours, a 43-year-old woman in El Salvador with a serious infection faced death, undiagnosed and untreated at a local charity hospital.   

At that moment, Dr. Joseph Hurley and his volunteer medical team were making their annual trip to El Salvador to perform surgeries and treat patients who otherwise would have no access to care. “In the right place at the right time,” reported Dr. Hurley as they immediately performed exploratory surgery on the woman, discovering peritonitis from an abscessed appendix.  They treated the potentially deadly infection with high doses of antibiotics and stabilized her condition. Within three days, she was clearly on the road to recovery.  In her critical state, she would not have survived without the volunteer medical team from Helping Hands Medical Missions and the medicines and surgical supplies from AmeriCares.

Citing this case as particularly memorable, Dr. Hurley recalled, “If we did not have AmeriCares support, we could not have saved her life.  Medicine and surgery is always delivered one patient at a time. I am deeply in debt to AmeriCares. Thank you.”

The latest team visit to El Salvador

Following their most recent visit – where the whole surgical mission, which included the gynecologic, pediatric orthopedic and hernia teams, saw 173 patients and performed 83 surgeries – Dr. Hurley made this statement:

"Sitting here and trying to express my gratitude for AmeriCares and your assistance, I feel inadequate in anything I might say. We are the ones who receive the thanks from the patients and their family members. Without our mission these patients could not afford surgery. Without AmeriCares there would be no mission."

Medical Outreach has been supporting Dr. Hurley's Volunteer Medical team and its trips to El Salvador since 2011 with medicines, supplies and other important resources.  The support given to Dr. Hurley’s team was part of the $48 million in medicines and supplies AmeriCares donated to more than 1,200 volunteer medical teams last year in visits to over 80 countries.