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For Health And Beauty

The blog of Sound Vascular

Dr. Gregory's Mission Trip to Honduras

May 02, 2016

Dr. Peter Gregory recently spent a week in La Cieba, Honduras providing free medical care to hundreds of people suffering from venous disease, such as severe varicose veins and venous ulcers.  This is the second year Dr. Gregory has participated in a service mission trip to Honduras, and this year he was thrilled to be accompanied by his 12 year old daughter, Olivia.  Organized by the Hackett Hemwall Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing medical care to people around the world, doctors like Dr. Gregory, nurses and other volunteers have the unique opportunity to give medical treatment to people in need.  

Last month, Dr. Gregory took a short break from his regular practice at Sound Vascular and traveled to La Cieba, a small city in the jungle along the northern coast of Honduras.  There, Dr. Gregory and other doctors, nurses and volunteers set up treatment areas that allowed them to take care of hundreds of patients in the course of a week. 

While the conditions in La Cieba were a far cry from the vascular clinics in the United States, for the Honduran patients it was the best and only option to treat their illnesses. Some individuals with advanced vascular disease traveled all day by foot and bus in hopes of care. Because of limited medical resources and a lack of sanitary conditions, many issues that could have been prevented with early treatment, had been left to develop and worsen over many years, such as leg ulcers and other advanced problems. 

Dr. Gregory was impressed by the willingness of those with no medical experience to roll up their sleeves and contribute to the healing of the people who visited the clinics. While some volunteers struggled initially with the hands-on nature of the medical treatments, by the end of the week everyone felt empowered to make a difference in the lives of the Honduran patients. 

In our interview here, Dr. Gregory reflects on his trip and the opportunity he had to provide medical care to people in need.   

Q: Did anyone else from Sound Vascular or NW Vein Center go with you?  
This year, Julie Guide, RVT from Pacific Vascular joined me.  She is a technologist who specializes in vascular ultrasound who helped the doctors with the procedures.  Also, my eldest daughter Olivia (age 12) joined me.  She was incredibly tough and kind; she helped me with the procedures and was a great team member.  It was her first trip abroad and was particularly eye opening to her.

Q: Do you speak Spanish?  
No---Olivia does though and was able to help translate.  

Q: What type of medical problems did you see?  What procedures did you do there?
A: Our team’s focus was on treating venous disease.  We saw a lot of people suffering from chronic, painful varicose veins.  Venous ulceration was common.  To treat these conditions we perform foam sclerotherapy, which are injections to close down the bad veins.

Q: Is there a specific patient or story you’d like to share?  
Coming for the second year in a row really added perspective. It is profound to me that these people have such limited access to care; despite the hurdles, the team is making a big impact on the community. Between my clinic and two others, we treated approximately 1800 patients in 5 days.  Being able to help people in such need was a great reminder of why I chose this profession.  This feeling can get lost with the day to day distractions of busy life in the U.S.   I was really happy to share this experience with my daughter.

Q: Did you see any of the same patients or families from last year’s trip?
A: Yes, I did!  I was able to see wounds that had healed from the prior year’s treatment.   

Q: What draws you to do this volunteer work? 
A: The vein treatments are easy to administer, effective, and make a big impact to the local people.  Some of the more advanced, highly technologic treatments that we perform in the U.S. are just not practical to bring to areas like Honduras.  Fortunately, vein care can be administered effectively with medicine, syringe and needle, and a battery operated ultrasound.  I am glad to help other human beings, that due to circumstances beyond their control, lead a much different/harder life than we do here.

Q: Does your volunteer work in Honduras influence your work/life here?  If so, how?
A: It does put daily life into perspective here.  Minor nuisances no longer seem like such a big deal.  I am fortunate for what I have here.

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