Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Colbert Knights of Columbus support advancing medical technology in Guatemala Mission clinic

by Lisa Sharkey, for the Inland Register

(From the January 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

January 26, 2016 addition: video of the presentation in Guatemala

Jesús Ordaz and Dr. José Miguel use the iSTAT to test the blood of a patient in one of the mission clinics in Guatemala. (IR photo courtesy of Lisa Sharkey)

In 1985, Dr. José Miguel Vasquez became the first native medical doctor at the clinic in Novillero, Guatemala. He is from Santa Lucia, in the mission area, and attended school at the Colegia Santa Catarina (now known as Colegia Nahualá). He also received one of the scholarships begun by Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane, to send students to various boarding high schools. Finally, he received his medical degree from San Carlos University in Guatemala City.

Since that time, Dr. José Miguel has remained faithful to his people and those who helped him get his start by working among the poor at the four clinics which he co-manages with the Sisters of Charity of New York. In 2000, he was appointed health director for the Diocese of Sololá and in 2007, he was honored in Spokane and received an award for 20 years of outstanding service in the Spokane Mission. He has a son, Robinsson, who is in his second year of medical residency and was recently observing cardiologists at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane.

This November, a small group from Spokane spent two weeks in the mission. Among other activities, they presented an iSTAT machine to clinic director, Dr. José Miguel. Patt Perlman and Jesús Ordaz represented the Knights of Columbus of St. Joseph Parish in Colbert. The KCs raised the money from their spring production of Cinderella to pay for the blood testing machine and cartridges.

Patt and Jesús, both nurses, demonstrated how to use the i-STAT to Dr. José Miguel, who then used it on a number of individuals in Novillero, discovering vital health information.

They also helped with a vaccination clinic in New Ixtahuacán. The clinic began with a prayer led by one of the health care promoters who recently went to classes to upgrade their medical skills. Everyone at the clinic also received a warm drink as they listened to a talk given by Dr. José Miguel before the vaccinations began. Approximately 25 children received vaccinations that day.

The group from Spokane handed out baby clothes and weighed children. Although vaccinations were brought into the clinic by government officials, the group from Spokane brought $1,500 worth of medicines which were donated by Family-to-Family and purchased at the pharmacy of Providence-Sacred Heart Medical Center. The medicines will be split among the four clinics that the Spokane Diocese supports in Guatemala.

These four clinics, with the work of Dr. José Miguel and his team of health care promoters, have greatly improved the lives of the people of Guatemala, especially women and children.

Please remember the mission in your prayers and donations.

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