Recently, the Rev. Richard C. Lindsey, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island, with five members of his parish, traveled to the Dominican Republic on a medical mission trip. The team also included seven others from churches throughout South Carolina and beyond.
Sun City residents and members of All Saints who went on this mission included Dale Finn, a Registered Nurse who lives in Sun City and Judy Cote, a Sun City resident who also is a Registered Nurse. The other team members included additional nurses and translators, as well as a physician, pharmacist, lab technologist, and a musician.
The team set up a temporary clinic in an Episcopal church in Los Mina, a poor inner-city neighborhood of Santo Domingo, the island nation's capital. Finn said the team moved church pews to subdivide the building into various treatment centers. There were three areas for medical providers, and one Dominican physician worked with the team each day. The fourth area was where the nurses performed triage - taking vital signs and determining the purpose for each visit.
In order for church services to be held on Sunday, everything had to be moved back into a traditional church layout. As soon as services were over, the clinic arrangement was set up again. This improvised clinic setting did not allow for much privacy, leading the volunteers to speak in whispers to their patients.
Many patients had hypertension, diabetes, skin problems, respiratory problems, and parasites. The team also provided health education for the patients.
"This was a Christian mission and, therefore, the medications and medical care were tools that we used to share the Christ in us with the Christ in the Dominicans," said Finn. This was her fifth mission trip.
Father Lindsey said in a sermon he preached after returning from the Dominican Republic: "I came to serve on the mission team as a priest and wound up photographing families for documentation purposes and passing out crayons and coloring books to entertain the children while their parents were being seen by a medical provider."
Judy Cote said, "Each year I go on a mission trip opens my heart and my understanding a bit more. Though the externals may be quite different, God's loving presence abounds in each of us, uniting us in communal spirit."
Finn said many All Saints parishioners donated funds used to purchase pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
"Because of these donations, our team was able to provide the best care possible to Dominicans who otherwise would not have access to any type of medical care," she said.