From the Heart of a Nurse

Moreano World Medical Mission: Part 1

Dr. Edwin Moreano, a plastic surgeon from Queens, New York, recently conducted his 22nd mission trip providing reconstructive surgeries to people in need.

Traveling to Latin America to treat people who were born with deformities, affected by burns, or facing medical problems that require plastic surgery, Moreano World Medical Mission brings together skilled surgeons to provide much-needed care.

In this blog, Althea McLeish, a recovery room nurse, describes the team’s recent trip to Paraguay.

How it all began

Moreano World Medical Mission is the realization of the dream of one man, Dr. Edwin Moreano.

In 1999, Dr. Moreano went on his first mission trip to Ecuador with a small team of two doctors and a nurse. He had recently completed his post-medical school fellowship training and, at the time, was unemployed.

However, this did not deter him from pursuing his goal: bringing free, specialized health care to the poor in Central and South America.

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Our mission to Paraguay

As a nurse, joining the Moreano World Medical Mission in 2016 opened my eyes and heart to a different world, and I was excited at the opportunity to be a member of the team traveling to Paraguay.

The team consisted of doctors, nurses, medical technicians, volunteers, and family members.

Twelve highly qualified registered nurses were on this team to Paraguay: two nurse anesthetists and 10 others with backgrounds in the operating room, intensive care unit, recovery room, and emergency room. Four of the 10 nurses were assigned to the operating room along with the two nurse anesthetists, and four to the recovery room.

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The operating room nurses assisted the doctors with each surgery, and the recovery room nurses prepared the patients for surgery and received them after the surgery was completed.

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From the operating room to the recovery room

Although the conditions of the recovery room was a far cry from the state-of-the-art rooms in the United States, the four recovery room nurses worked as a team to ensure that patients were safe, that their ABCs (airway, breathing, and circulation) were optimal, and that they were given proper discharge instructions. All of this, however, would not be possible without the excellent care delivered by the operating room team.

Patients were put to sleep under general anesthesia, intubated, and placed on a respirator before being brought back to a state of independent breathing prior to being transferred to the recovery room.

As one of the recovery room nurses, I am still amazed at how much is accomplished with so little.


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The skill, attitude, and team spirit of each member made this work possible

Days were very long and tiresome and we only slept for a short time, but everyone was up early and ready for work each of the three days spent at the hospital.

The sincere appreciation of each life we touched and the joy of giving back kept us going.

Without a doubt, it was a mission of the heart.

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Written by Althea McLeish, RN.

Stay tuned for more patient stories from Paraguay in Part 2 of this blog about Moreano World Medical Mission.

Moreano World Medical Mission was supported by a donation of surgical supplies from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.