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A Will and A Way

Except for a few, the rest of us who join or participate in the surgical or medical missions probably do not know or wouldn't bother to know, the effort and the logistics involved in planning and carrying out these undertakings. These missions are planned well in advance after an organization such as the Society of Philippine Surgeons in America gets invited by the local host or organization, usually a year or two before the expected mission. Between the Society and host, a constant communication and dialogue in the interim goes on during the planning process to insure a successful outcome.

Sometimes however, things go awry at the last minute that a mission in the making suddenly gets aborted. Take the planned mission this year to Butuan City which has been in the works for over a year after local leaders verbally agreed to host the event. One of the SPSA mission coordinators even made a trip last year to discuss the logistics involved with the upcoming mission. Having been given tacit and explicit go-ahead, the Society shipped medical and surgical supplies to the city; those who signed up for the mission arranged and booked their flights accordingly and looked forward to helping ameliorate the health of the underserved in the area. Few weeks before the mission was to commence, the hosts had a change of heart and pulled out of sponsoring it, the event and the people of the city falling prey to the vagaries of politics.

But someone's loss can become another person's again. Despite the very short time to decide and take on the five-day surgical mission, the neophyte congresswoman with her husband's encouragement, brought the SPSA team to Ormoc City - the very first time ever that a surgical mission of this magnitude transpired in Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez congressional district.

The success was clearly evident with more the 800 surgical procedures performed during the five days the missionaries were in town. The congresswoman and her staff including the local leaders in the city pulled all the stops to bring a much needed health benefit to the indigent people of the city.

It was Mark Twain who once said, " Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. " The congresswoman and the people of Ormoc not only gratified many people and astonished the rest, but showed us that there is really something to the much often quoted saying, if there is a will, there is as way. That is if we still subscribe and believe in this old cliche.

Editorial, reprinted from The Philippine Surgeon, July2007 issue,
by Edward E. Quiros, M.D., FACS., Editor-in-Chief


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