Florida medical team brings care to remote Barra del Colorado

Some 371 needy residents of Barra del Colorado received first-class medical care when a volunteer team of nurses, technicians and physicians from Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center, Sebring, and Florida Hospital, Wachula, visited for five days.

The community in extreme northeast Costa Rica is not accessible easily.

The team, headed by Jorge F. Gonzales, brought, used, and then donated a state of the art electrocardiogram machine for the Barra clinic which, said residents, will be a time and lifesaver for future cardiac patients.

Some patients boated in from Tortuguero to see the specialists. Several critical-need patients including one person with head trauma were transported out for help.

The team found time to visit 92 children at the local schools in Barra area and up river in the remote jungle settlement of Delta where the kids were given toothbrushes and hygienic tips and sang some songs with the nurses.

The team turned no one away. Many of their patients do not have insurance with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and often have little contact with doctors.  All patients got an eye exam and were given free glasses if needed.

Sandals, tee shirts, towels and antibacterial soaps with small first aid kits, vitamins and basic medicines for the family to take home were given to those in need.

The teams treated and diagnosed a variety of problems and recommended prescriptions and further examinations by Costa Rican specialists. With the approval of the local clinic physicians, medicines were given to the patients or, if available locally, were filled by the Caja pharmacy.

The electrocardiogram machine is capable of transmitting results via wifi to major trauma centers and makes possible an instant evaluation and diagnosis.  Patients from Barra in the past have to travel by boat and bus more than three hours to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment for diagnosis, and heart attack victims often wait a long time for an electrocardiogram. 

Two medical visitors evaluate a young patient.

Two medical visitors evaluate a young patient.

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