In an effort to bring care to the local community of Antigua, Guatemala, the Medical Mission Foundation, based in Kansas City, held their annual trip to the country this past June, assembling more than 60 doctors, nurses and volunteers. The group also included a small team of students and doctors from the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), which included two licensed audiologists and five audiology doctoral students.
The team of doctors provided ears, nose and throat (ENT), audiology, general surgery and urology services to 155 patients. Many of the patients traveled for several days for care.
“Despite the language barrier, we listen to countless stories of triumph and dire pleas of desperation for better hearing,” said Kelsey McCoy, audiology doctoral student.
Over the course of six days, the teams provided amplification and fittings for hearing aids for 132 patients. Following the hearing evaluations and hearing aid fittings, each patient was sent with a care kit with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, hearing aid batteries, hearing aid dry aid kit and plush toys, largely donated from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.
“[We] educated [the locals] on use and care of their hearing aids and dental supplies. Many of them had never seen toothpaste and toothbrushes and had to be instructed on use,” she said.
McCoy was just one of many audiology doctoral student on this trip. She spoke of how much the trip affected and improved her life, both personally and professionally.
“This mission trip left a huge mark on my life. I was very grateful for the opportunity and the individuals I met. I have never met people so grateful and kind hearted,” she said.