Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How the *heck* did we get an ultrasound donated?!

We are getting an ultrasound machine donated, and you would not believe how it came about!

Sarah was in the States on her speaking tour when we started looking for funds to hire Dr. Jorge Flores –  a radiologist who had worked with us for 10 years until 2009 – and funds for an ultrasound machine.  We have a retired friend, A.B., who started an organization that refurbished medical machinery and shipped it to non-profits around the world.  I wrote Sarah and asked her to track down A.B. and see what he could do.

MobiSante Tablet Ultrasound Machine

A.B. referred Sarah to his contact who said that he could probably not help but recommended working towards a mobile ultrasound machine from MobiSante.  Sarah ended up in California speaking at an event with Jane, who volunteered as a nurse at our clinic, and they looked at this machine online and got really excited…It was portable…Sarah called the company to see if one could be donated to “this wonderful clinic”…but they did not do donations.  So we started looking for more funds.

Meanwhile Jorge had contacts with someone with a used machine here in Nicaragua at a lower cost.  Sarah had returned from her speaking tour and she is really good with machines.  Sarah agreed to go with Jorge to look at it and thank goodness she did!  She insisted that they give us more information and while all that was happening a transformer blew in that part of Managua and they lost several machines.  This made us think about our vulnerability to unstable power, dust, etc.  Soooo Sarah called the MobiSante representative again.  

Jorge trying out MobiSante ultrasound machine

“What about a non-profit discount?”  That they could do and later the rep called Sarah back and gave Sarah the name of an organization in Nicaragua that had just purchased the same machine.  Sarah called…yes, Jorge could come try out the machine.

Amanecer Mobile Health Clinic has clinics in rural areas, and while Jorge tried out the MobiSante ultrasound machine, the nurses and doctors at the clinic started asking questions.  They knew how to use it, but not how to interpret what they were seeing.  Would Jorge be willing to train their staff?  They had money for training.  Sarah called me to ask if Jorge could have time off to train them, and then she plugged the idea of in exchange for his teaching they might get our machine in lieu of paying Jorge for the trainings.

Jorge's impromtu training with the Amanecer Clinic staff
They had to get back to their sponsors to see what could be done.  A week later, we got an email…their sponsor would like to buy us the ultrasound machine in exchange for Jorge training the Amanecer Clinic staff.  This way the poor everywhere benefit…their doctors and nurses receive the needed training from our wonderful teacher and doctor, Jorge, and our patients receive ultrasounds.

In the same speaking tour, in Texas Sarah talked with another long-term donor and friend, Marty, who has been helping us look for funds.  She was excited to hear that we have a machine donated and she went further and secured the funds in order to get us the pediatric now we have it all!

Sarah is dogged in her attempts to get donations for the work of the CDCA.  She will not settle for lousy excuses that mean the poor suffer because of faulty machinery.  We laugh and say, “Doña Sarah is fearless and shameless.”  She is.  All for the poor. – Kathleen