The small communities surrounding the city of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic are full of heat, humidity and thousands of people in need of medical care.

In November, a mission team consisting of 20 Metroplex staff, physicians and community members traveled to San Cristobal to provide medical care to those in need.

Each year, Jaime Guajardo, Metroplex Health System’s director of Chaplain Services, organizes a mission trip to an impoverished country in need of medical care.

During the recent one-week mission trip to the Dominican Republic, Guajardo and the team set up triage-style clinics, providing four clinics to four small communities surrounding San Cristobal.

The clinics consisted of physicians and nurses who evaluated the patients’ medical concerns and provided treatments and medicine for common ailments such as parasites, skin conditions, hypertension, malnourishment and flu like symptoms.

“The trip was intense,” Guajardo said. “We started the day early, were on the road by 9 a.m. and seeing patients by 10 a.m. We served an average of 450 patients within four to five hours each day, in four different communities.”

Before the trip, team members gathered eyeglasses in a variety of shapes, sizes and strengths to distribute to people in need of glasses.

Nonclinical volunteers helped distribute eyeglasses, organized medication, triaged patients and provided overall support for the clinics.

“This experience definitely gives you a different perspective,” Guajardo said. “And we are so thankful and blessed.”

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