We started off the day with a quick breakfast in the cafeteria of Earth University, enjoying various fruits, meats, cheeses, and our favorite staple, gallo pinto (rice and beans). There was much more variety than where we had stayed previously, and local students attending the University also ate in the cafeteria with us. I think we were all still sore from rafting yesterday but ready to jump back into clinics and check out our new clinic site.
Today was Clinic Day #4 and our first in Siquirres. It took us about 20 minutes to reach our new clinic site, which was a much shorter drive than to our previous site. During the drive, we passed numerous pineapple and banana plantations. We set up our clinic in a local church and met the pastor responsible for the building before we began seeing patients. When we arrived, a crowd of people was ready and waiting for us to get started working with their pets (see picture below). The clinic site was much different from our first clinic: our sink for washing instruments was located outside, and all areas of the clinic (check-in, surgery, recovery, consults) shared one large room. Local Costa Ricans cooked and brought us a lunch of arroz con carne (rice with beef), pasta salad, chips and refried beans as well as a spiny fruit called lychee.
Our entire group completed 29 surgeries and 30 consults between 8:30am and 5pm. I worked with Andrea and Theresa today, and as a team, we completed 7 surgeries (5 dog spays, 1 cat spay, and 1 dog neuter) and 4 consults. Because the groups rotate working with different doctors, we worked with Dr. Alejandra Gonzalez, Dr. Ana Luisa Vargas, and Dr. Avery Bennett today. By this point, we have all had the opportunity to actively participate in the surgeries, and we are able to have more responsibilities with each case. Fortunately, all of my team’s surgeries went well- our patients recovered smoothly and went home with their owners before the end of the day.
One of the most interesting cases of the day was a very young puppy that we named Benny. Unlike most of the animals that came to the clinics for general health exams, vaccines, or spays/neuters, he was in need of an orthopedic procedure to correct his legs. His tibia was rotated 90 degrees relative to the femur on both rear legs; as a result, he was unable to use his back legs to stand or walk properly. The picture below shows Dr. Bennett examining the puppy and evaluating him as a surgical candidate. He decided to go ahead with surgery and perform it the next day.
Once we finished our work at the clinic, we headed back to Earth University to get ready for dinner. We ate at a local Costa Rican restaurant and returned home to rest up for our next clinic day.