Posted by: calloftheandes | April 28, 2016

Notes from the Quake Zone (First in a Series)

Rescue workers at Manta, Ecuador. Photo used with permission of Grupo El Comercio

Rescue workers at Manta, Ecuador. Photo used with permission of Grupo El Comercio

(19 April 2016. Atacames, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador)

by Steve Nelson

Arrived about 2:30 met by rural doc, Dr. Paola Perez , then ushered to a dirreción [administration] “manned” almost entirely by women—very capable women with very efficient attitudes and manners about getting the many volunteers organized.

They pointed out that the hospital we were assigned to doesn’t have an X-ray so it became immediately clear that we shouldn’t be bringing orthopedic surgeons here.  Any patients with fractures are just bypassing Atacamas to go to Esmeraldas.

Dr. Steve Nelson

Dr. Steve Nelson

The thought was that we would organize our medicines and food and then start tomorrow in Muisne which is 90 percent evacuated to albergues [shelters]… and those people are being attended by three teams of Ministerio de Salud docs and personnel … and we would comprise a fourth team.

After settling in, Paola (young, dedicated, tireless) called and said there were emergencies arriving from Chamanga which is also almost totally destroyed, and would we go back to the hospital?  To her credit she only asked for the emergency guy and one family practice doc. But we are new and enthusiastic too, so we decided to stick together and all went to see a few patients.

Busy here—but mainly primary care. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Dr. Nelson is a family practice physician with Reach Beyond.


  1. […] leaves for the coast this morning (Friday, May 6). The team includes veteran missionary physician Dr. Steve Nelson, Dr. Mauricio Colonel of Reach Beyond’s Carapungo Clinic in Quito and writer Ralph […]

  2. […] said good-bye to our friends [in Esmeraldas Province] and asked the Lord for His guidance as we did not what to expect today. We […]

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