Light of the World Charities

I went on a Medical/Brigade to Honduras June 22-28, 2008. Light of the World Charities runs 7-8 Brigades each year to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Comayagua, Honduras.  Surgeons and nurses from the USA come down and do surgeries all week. The mission site has a full time medical clinic staffed by Honduran physicians. The clinic also has a two-chair dental suite which is staffed by Honduran dentists and assistants.  But the people up in the mountain villages had no dentistry at all.  A dentist from Florida, who had a number of years of experience doing field dentistry in the mountains of South and Central America, volunteered for service in Honduras.  So our little team included  Dr. Dave Girlinghouse, two Honduran assistants, two American missionaries (who also acted as translators) and myself. 

On Monday we treated patients in the clinic in Comayagua.  I used the field unit set up in the clave area.  Tuesday we loaded a 4 X 4 pick-up and drove 3 hours to a mountain village named San Luis.  Once there we set up the field unit, a portable chair and a donated dental chair that the local priest had in storage. We set the chairs side by side one going north and one south; then we set the field unit, portable evacuation, compressor and light between the two so that both Dr. Dave and I could use them.   It all worked pretty well except when there was a power outage for an hour or so.  There was one rheostat for the unit, so only one of us could use the handpieces at any given time. That is when a cordless handpiece came into play.  It was donated by my local dental hygiene component, Lake County Dental Hygienists Society (IL).  When Dr. Dave needed the corded handpiece, I could use the cordless.  We worked there Tuesday- Thursday.  Our “sterilization” area was not much more than disinfection.  One of the missionaries was set up with three plastic tubs, gloves and a mask.  He would clean debris off with plain water in the first tub, then submerge the instruments in bleach water in the second and finally rinse with plain water in the last.

Then we drove back to Comayagua on Thursday evening; we were told when we returned that we had operation room cases the next day.   Neither of us had ever worked in a O.R. so that too was a new experience, but the nurses and anesthesiologists were of great help.  The first four days I did 76 patients with about 2/3 of those being sealants and the rest being prophys (mostly using the piezo ultrasonic scaler that the field unit had).   In the O.R.  we only did two cases due to the time needed for general anesthetic and the fact that we did virtually everything that the children needed while they were under.

In spite of their extreme poverty (one of the four poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere) the Honduran people are gentle and open.  They welcomed us and wished to share what they could with us.

The trips are one week long and most of the expenses can be covered by Light of the World unless you wish to donate your airfare, too.  It is very helpful if you can get donations of supplies from companies and people before you go.

I hope that Light of the World Charities will be able to continue and expand the dental team on its brigades. 


Linda Bugos-Noble, RDH, B.S.

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