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.
Preparing for Your Trip
What to Bring
Everyone wears scrubs at the hospital, and there are plenty of all sizes available. . . don’t bring scrubs with you. Laundry is available every day, with 24 hour turnaround at no cost. Be sure you mark your name on anything you want to send. Clean laundry is displayed and distributed from a common table, so you can decide how much you want to amuse your teammates with your underwear fashions.
Days will be warm to hot, with cool evenings, so bring a sweater or jacket. Rain is likely, so a slicker or similar is a good idea. A simple tourist-style outfit or two should be plenty to complete your wardrobe.
You’ll be asked to pack all of your personal belongings in a carry on, so we can use the luggage allowance for medical equipment. Each passenger is allowed two bags or cartons, maximum 50 pounds each. We can arrange to place sharps and liquids in the checked luggage at the airport (pack them on top in your carry-on in an identifiable package. .) The hospital is well equipped and most of what we bring is disposable supplies. If there is an instrument or tool that you feel you can’t function without, it’s best to plan to bring it with you.
What to Expect
When you arrive in Guatemala, the medical supplies will be loaded onto a truck. You will then transported via bus to Nuevo Progreso. When you arrive at the hospital, your names will be found on the room to which you have been assigned. You will have time to unpack and familiarize yourself with the hospital layout. Dinner will be served around 6 pm and be announced by a bell. Each room will be provided with towels and soap. Please note that clean towels are only provided weekly.
While at the hospital, your meals are provided by a wonderful kitchen staff. Your laundry is provided daily. Your sole responsibility is that of providing care to the patients of Hospital de la Familia.
When you arrive, please introduce yourself to the Guatemalan doctors. They facilitate your work in the clinics and will answer any questions regarding patient care.
Electricity is fairly reliable – the hospital has an emergency generator for blackouts- and is standard 110 volts. Your devices will work with no adapters needed. There is Wi-Fi at the site, which is only fairly reliable and bandwidth for internet service is limited. If you bring a laptop remember that you need to pack all of your belongings into your carry-on and may be restricted if you have a large laptop bag. Your cell phone should work if you have made arrangements with your local carrier to enable international connectivity. You can buy local phones in Guatemala for around $20 or $30 with pre-loaded minutes. This will include calls to the US. Once we are at the Hospital you can change dollars at the Hospital pharmacy. For the shopping area, credit/debit cards are accepted.