Highlights from a Tena Mobile Clinic: March 2012 *UPDATED: April 23, 2012

This week, we received updates from our first spring MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic in Tena, Ecuador. Director of MEDLIFE Ecuador Martha Chicaiza shared some of the highlights from last week’s particularly hectic and successful Mobile Clinic. Translated below by MEDLIFE Intern Laura Keen:

During a round of routine Pap smears, MEDLIFE staff and volunteers encountered a patient, Alicia Alvaro, who complained of several days of irregular vaginal bleeding. After an examination, the clinic obstetrician informed Martha Chicaiza, MEDLIFE’s Director of Latin American Operations, that the cause of her bleeding was potentially due to a condition known as endometrial hyperplasia, the rapid reproduction of cells in the inner lining of the uterus. At the end of the clinic day, Martha escorted the patient to Tena Hospital where doctors admitted her and scheduled her for a hysterectomy.  


The lengthy procedure was successfully performed on Sunday, March 11th and Alicia is now resting and recovering in her home.

A day later, student volunteers and doctors visited a community where principal complaints consisted of children with mild flu symptoms, a not uncommon occurrence during clinics. Among them, however, two infants presented temperatures of almost 104 degrees fahrenheit — a temperature that carries with it the risk of convulsion and which could also be a sign of pneumonia. MEDLIFE immediately contracted a local villager with a van to take the children and their mothers to the nearest hospital where they could be further examined. The children remained in the hospital to be treated for pneumonia.


On the same day at the second Tena clinic site, doctors and volunteers encountered a young girl complaining of pain in her arm. The girl presented a severe fracture and requested immediate help. Riding in an ambulance, Martha raced to the nearby site to find the patient and immediately transported her to the closest hospital for attention.

Student volunteers and MEDLIFE staff members were pleased that they were available last week to assist with such significant cases which may have otherwise gone overlooked or untreated. Thank you to all the participants from the March 4-10 Mobile Clinic in Tena, Ecuador!

*PHOTO UPDATE* April 23, 2012:

Seven days after the emergency hysterectomy that saved her life, MEDLIFE staff and volunteers paid Alicia Alvarado a visit to check on her condition; she is recovering superbly and is happy to be home with loved ones again. Director Martha Chicaizo’s photographs from their visit to the grateful family’s home who had their lives drastically altered thanks to one of our Mobile Clinics:


Alvarado and her family sincerely appreciate the organization’s initiative in helping the poor receive medical care and education.  They urge us to continue our work and keep visiting communities like theirs, that are most in need. 



Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.