There are 4-6 surgical teams that donate time to Hospital de la Familia each year. Each team is lead by a team leader and is organized at least a year in advance.
Hospital de la Familia had it's beginnings in 1972, when an American, Jack Younger, exploring Mexico and Central America in his light plane, visited Nuevo Progreso, Guatemala and met a local priest, Padre Cayetano Bertoldo. A lasting friendship ensued. Padre was a priest dedicated to improving the lot of the poor in Guatemala and Nuevo Progreso, an area with a large indigenous Mayan Indian population. Padre enlisted Jack to help him establish a clinic to provide healthcare to the people of Nuevo Progreso, his parish. Jack Younger, a successful and experienced contractor from the San Francisco Bay Area was a member of a men’s club named The Family Club. Together with other members of The Family Club, Jack raised the necessary $100.000.00 to begin construction of the hospital, which would later become known as the Hospital de la Familia. Mr. Younger’s and Padre Bertoldo's vision became a reality on February 8, 1976 when Hospital de la Familia was formally dedicated.
Today, Hospital de la Familia has a full-time staff caring for an average of 13,000 patients a year. Surgical teams from the U.S. and Canada provide highly skilled treatment and specialty care, performing over 1500 surgical operations every year. In addition to the hospital and outpatient clinics, Hospital de la Familia established a Nutrition Center to house and feed malnourished children and a Dental Clinic. Hospital de la Familia and Padre Bertoldo also established a nursing school with in the hospital, and a grade school for the town. Computer training, and sewing classes, have also been offered for the townspeople. Hospital de la Familia’s activities in Guatemala are funded in part by the Hospital de la Familia Foundation, a non-profit California Corporation, supported by the generous help of the medical community and donors throughout the US.
Since 1976, a clinic employing Guatemalan doctors and nurses has operated year round, treating general medical problems. There are currently approximately 60 full-time employees, including 3 Guatemalan doctors, 12 Guatemalan nurses and 3-4 nurse/nun instructors and supervisors. 4-5 large surgical teams of more than 40 members travel to Nuevo Progreso each year. These teams' composition can vary, but in general they consist of Plastic Surgery, General Surgery, GYN, ENT and Ophthalmology Specialists. Additionally, during the past few years, we have been fortunate to have small Ophthalmology teams helping to care for the great back load of eye patients. The Dental clinic treats between 1200 and 1500 patients per year with dental care and instruction. The nutrition center treats more than 100 children a year under the age of six, with an average stay of 3 months.
We have recently added a full-time Guatemalan Ophthalmologist, Jose Argueta, MD. The Ophthalmology Service has thus expanded greatly with the advent of a full-time eye surgeon enabling us to see and treat many more patients per yearl Dr. Argueta started in February of 2016 and has a 2 year contract. There are currently plans to add an Ophthalmology Resident from Guatemala City training and helping Dr. Argueta