Dr. Diane Sklar is a gynecological surgeon based in San Francisco. She has dedicated her life to medical missions, and Esperança is only one of the organizations that she volunteers with on a regular basis. For many years, Dr. Sklar has travelled with a team to the Esperança medical mission sites, and she currently goes to Bolivia and Nicaragua once a year. The local staff and the patients love her and her team, not only for the important operations that they provide but for their warmth and compassion for the local people.
In November of 2011, Dr. Sklar and her team of four returned from another successful gynecological mission. They operated on 33 women, performing multiple complex procedures on each one.
One woman, 46 year old Seberina, was able to reap the incredible benefits that Dr. Sklar and her team offered during this mission. Seberina is a mother of 6 children. Never able to attend school, she is unable to read or write and only speaks the indigenous language of Quechua. Seberina and her husband are very poor farmers who make an average of $70 a month. More than four years ago, she began to have gynecological issues that affected her everyday well-being. She was no longer able to tend to the crops, and was in constant pain. Two weeks before the volunteer surgeons arrived, she heard a radio announcement about their arrival. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized that this may be her opportunity to have surgery and be healed. The local doctors told her that the volunteer doctors would decide on which patients would receive the operations. She prayed fervently every day that she would be selected. On the day the team arrived, Seberina arrived at 4am to be the first one in line with all her lab and diagnostic tests already completed. When she was selected, she gave praise to God although she admitted she was a little afraid as well. Dr. Sklar and her team operated for 3 hours on Seberina, and performed 5 different procedures. It was a long surgery but the outcome was very positive and Seberina will fully heal.
Returning from her last mission, Dr. Sklar expressed how every year she looks forward to the Bolivian volunteer experience. “It is a unique environment to teach, provide services and interact with the local community. I love the staff, patients and Bolivian support. Thank you for allowing my team to participate.”