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Q&A: What’s it like to go on a medical mission?

dr-giancarlo-mcevenueDr. Giancarlo McEvenue, a plastic surgery resident at St. Joe’s, completed a medical mission in Lebanon. Here’s what he said made his experience so rewarding:

Q: What made you decide to go on a medical mission?
A: This is something I always wanted to do even before I decided to become a physician. As a university student, I remember reading about Doctors Without Borders and being inspired — I’ve always wanted to use my skills to help others.

Q: Why is the need for medical care so urgent in Lebanon?
A: There are over a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, many who have had little or no access to medical care despite facing the violence of war. The need for health care and specialized medical services is overwhelming.

Q: What was your experience like?
A: I joined a medical team that worked out of a Lebanese hospital for seven days. We saw 100 patients and completed 40 reconstructive surgeries. Most of the procedures focused on removing thick scar tissue that distorts a person’s appearance or prevents normal function in the affected area. We worked non-stop and our patients were so grateful.  It was an incredible experience.

Q: Did you learn anything new?
A: I learned so much – from working in an operating room with limited equipment and supplies to the unique surgeries we performed. It was a great opportunity to use the skills I’ve acquired to give back.

Q: What are you bringing back to St. Joe’s?

A:  A real appreciation for what we have here and how lucky we are to live in Canada. I think we do a great job serving the local community at St. Joe’s and I hope to contribute to that care.

For more information on medical missions to the Middle East or to donate, visit LEAP Global Missions.

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