The American Association for Hand Surgery sponsored the first medical mission to Guatemala in 2004 in memory of Dr. Miguel Vargas.
Dr. Vargas was the founding member of the Puerto Rico Society for Plastic Surgery. Dr. Vargas also became an active member American Society for Surgery of the hand and the American Society of Plastic Surgery. Due to his passion for his field he was very active in teaching hand surgery in Puerto Rico and traveled the whole world spreading the gospel of excellence in surgery of the hand. Due to his outstanding job with previous mentioned organizations he was elected as Secretary General of the International Societies of Surgery of the Hand in 1989 until the time of his sudden death on November 17th, 1993.
The team was comprised of 16 volunteers including, Hand Surgeons, Hand Therapists, Anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians and philanthropists from all over the United States.
Now, this medical mission to Guatemala is organized through The Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation. Presently, the following care is provided:
- 796 patients screened
- 330 patients received surgery
- One patient brought to New Mexico for further surgery
- One patient brought to Shriners Phila for micro-surgery
- 1,985 doctors, therapists, and students have attended two day conference
How does GHHF find patients?
Various Guatemalan contacts notify churches, communities, newspapers, individual families that GHHF will be making a visit. This news is also highly dependent upon word of mouth due to the lack of infrastructure.
GHHF also follows patients that have been seen in the past as many require second, third and fourth surgeries to continue improved hand function.