The MSU is a miracle machine.
Dr. Glenn Geelhoed, our founder, shared his first thoughts on the new mobile surgical unit (MSU) in the below email received mid-January:
I have just arrived and this is the first time I’ve had access to email while in the Philippines. My biggest piece of news? The Mobile Surgical Unit (MSU) is a miracle machine! So far we have helped 94 cases (surgical care), while operating inside the unit in just three days.
As of now, I just packed up the MSU in the Aurora Baler province for a professional driver to bring North. The MSU has run exclusively on a generator, since we could not get the hospital’s 340 volt system brought down to 110 volts to work with the MSU. As a consequence it’s only using diesel fuel. The bar in front of the diesel tank has saved the MSU 2x from major disasters. However, the third time around it exploded off the tank. Thankfully the tank remains intact, and we are not moving until the bar is replaced.
Currently, we pretty badly need the cage around the air conditioning units replaced. Why, you might ask? Because when the MSU pulled into Roxasl hospital it took off two branches of a mango tree with a part of the MSU that is a steel cage protecting the AC flawlessly. The cage is so good that here in the tropics they have asked that we turn the air conditioner down to one third capacity. This is because Filipinos are not as used to such cold as anyone that is right now living where you are in the US. I have heard only indirectly that most of my area of Maryland and DC has been shut down. (As we know, readers, Jonas was a fiasco).
I will keep you updated with the journal I sent back to the US from Palowen. I will also attempt to send chapters from the end of the week. I’ve currently been operating without students, while still teaching the new University of the Philippines Baylor branch students. They have been keen on operating with me in the MSU, as has the plastic surgical team.
Everyone’s favorite place is in the MSU. It’s even preferred over the main operating room of our two-year-old, very well-equipped hospital. Thanks for all your support in making this happen. It’s a game changer.
As of now, the MSU headed toward a very mountainous area with narrow roads in the north of Luzon. We’re hoping to avoid issues such as broken pieces, overheating, little things going missing (fire extinguishers, wall clock, mop and broom, tool kit, etc.) because as we go further and further to remote areas, they will be harder to replace. Something I’ve been thinking through and working to put together is dedicating a team to the preservation and continuous operations of the MSU.
In closure, we’re transitioning into the weekend on the road to the far north of Luzon, where we will meet with Daniel Vryhof, a medical student, and the other volunteers. Exciting things to come!