For the second consecutive year, Regent employees joined a 26-person volunteer team of orthopedic and neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists and a variety of supporting professionals, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to provide desperately needed spine surgeries for youth and young adults (read about 2018 trip here). Operating at Cedimat Hospital, this year’s team completed 13 surgeries over four days in August, mostly for patients with severe scoliosis.
The project was made possible by Regent Cares, an umbrella for the good works Regent employees take on to uphold the company’s R.I.S.E. values. Regent provided significant financial support for the mission, and for the first time this year, several of the company’s ambulatory surgery center partners contributed as well.
“We increased our Regent Cares budget by 33% last year so we could continue to increase what we give,” says Regent’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Bishop. “Our organization is blessed, we want to share that with those that we serve. We’re proud to be able to continue our own contributions, and of our individual surgery centers getting involved as well.”
Regent’s volunteers onsite in Santo Domingo included Chief Development Officer Thomas Crossen, Medical Administrator Jocelyn Ocampo, and Sterile Processing Technician Samantha Mangrum. The effort was coordinated by the International Surgical Foundation (ISF), a non-profit Christian-based charity led by Dr. Duane Pitt. ISF was founded out of a need to provide to the impoverished population of the Dominican Republic and surrounding areas the very best in surgical treatment for spine disorders and to advance the education and surgical skills of local surgeons.
“People with severe scoliosis don’t tend to live past 30,” explains Bishop. “We are committed to sending a team and supporting Dr. Pitt and his work. We really feel called to continue serving in that capacity and will be back there in July of this year as well.”
Regent’s Jocelyn Ocampo, who served as a translator onsite, shared several examples of the mission’s positive impact. She spoke of one young patient who needed special treatment because the curvature at her upper back was very severe: “We all treated her like a princess and even bought her a little princess crown,” recalls Ocampo. “Afterwards, she was super excited to be walking straight. She did it with such pride, she wore the crown, and it was amazing. She couldn’t believe it. Her attitude was always very positive, but something we take for granted, walking straight, was a huge thrill for her.”
Another memory that stuck with Ocampo was the reaction of the younger brother of a teenage patient who had suffered significant pain prior to her life-changing surgery. “He was younger, and he would cry too watching her fall down to the floor in pain. His mom said it was almost like he literally shared her pain. But he was so happy and excited that his sister was going to stop all that suffering.”
Asked why she believes the mission trips are good for Regent, Ocampo spoke like the owner of the company that she is: “it goes back to our vision statement and the pride we take in our patients’ wellbeing. Just like what we do for our business, the mission trips are doing good for people. We help. That’s a real goal that Regent has. We are not just a business, we really believe in making things better for people. It’s very satisfying to me personally that we’re able to do that.”
For more information about Regent’s effort, or to connect with ISF, contact Jocelyn Ocampo at JOcampo@regentsurgicalhealth.com.