Faith & Spirituality

May 2, 2014

Medical need high in Dominican

LAKE PLACID — Medical personnel with St. Eustace Episcopal Church’s recent mission to the Dominican Republic saw almost 1,000 patients over five days.

“There was a little girl (named Gina) with asthma and pneumonia that came back every day for treatment and antibiotics,” said Robin Baxter, a Lake Placid nurse and one of the coordinators of the trip.

At week’s end, Baxter said via email, Gina’s mother told them, tears in her eyes, that she believed Physician Assistant Kara Comins and the mission medical team had saved her life.

“The mother may be quite close to the truth, as Gina was extremely sick. In (the United States), she would have been in the hospital and maybe even in ICU.”

This year, the 23-person volunteer mission group included a physician, three physician assistants, two registered nurses and two licensed practical nurses.

The St. Eustace Dominican Mission has traveled to the Caribbean nation for 16 years, providing medical and spiritual care to the people in and around the community of Gautier.

“There’s a functional clinic,” Baxter said. “We used to work in the church, but a few years ago we switched to a community center built like a church.”


Every morning during the mission, she said, the medical providers and local volunteers would have a team meeting to discuss their daily plans and share a group prayer. 

Next, they would drive to the community center for an opening prayer. Afterward, the team would treat patients until 5 p.m.

As patients would enter the clinic, one of the volunteers would sign them in. Then one of the workers would run tests to check their vital signs and get background on each person’s illness. 

Then patients would either see the physician or a physician assistant. After treatment, there would be a healing prayer for each person. 

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