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Our philanthropy here at Texas AED has been Operation KidDocs (formerly Children’s Surgical Global Outreach) for the last 10 years. Operation KidDocs is a volunteer medical group whose goal is to bring surgical care to underserved children in other countries. They mostly work out of the Moore Center in Guatemala City, and they go approximately two times a year. Rebranding from Dell Children’s Surgical Global Outreach in 2019, Operation KidDocs raises money to send physicians and other healthcare providers on these trips. For more information about Operation KidDocs, please visit their website linked below.
Our History with Operation KidDocs
What is the Moore Center?
The Moore Pediatric Surgery Center is a center in Guatemala that OKD works out of when they perform trips. They are funded by the Shalom Foundation, which fundraises for many groups to go to medical mission trips. All surgeries out of the Moore Center are free of charge for the patients, and many of them hear about it by social media or word of mouth. Because OKD works out of the Moore Center, they do not displace local healthcare providers from their jobs when they perform these trips. Other groups which go to the Moore Center are Austin Smiles, Vanderbilt University, Nashville Dental, and more. More information on The Moore Center and The Shalom Foundation are linked below.
On their April 2022 trip, Operation KidDocs sent many professionals and one of our very own members, Roshan Mara, to the Moore Pediatric Surgery Center in Guatemala City. The trip is normally six days long. On the first day, there is prescreening for all the patients. The physicians talk to each patient and screen them for the surgery to make sure that they are prepared and understand what they are receiving. The rest of the team unpacks the equipment and makes sure the ORs are ready for surgery. Days 2-5 are packed full of surgery. They work alongside a team of physicians there who aid in the surgeries and provide follow up care once the physicians leave. Day 6 is when the team goes to Antigua and explores the city.
Is this Voluntourism?
The short answer: no.
Ideally, we wouldn’t send people overseas because it’s a “white savior complex” to help people abroad, but this group is consistently sending medical professionals and allows local follow up care for the patients. Most of the doctors who get their education in Guatemala either want to work in the private sector (which is expensive for underprivileged patients to receive) or they leave to come to another country like the US after they finish their education. This group works alongside a local team of doctors so there is a contingency plan after the surgeries and the patients are taken care of well after they are healed.
The healthcare providers from the US do not get paid for going on this trip, and they do it out of the goodness of their hearts. There have been many of the physicians who recognized old patients who had received surgeries previously and now volunteer at the Moore Center. They also allow the medical students to watch and learn more about the techniques. OKD normally perform surgeries that the Guatemalan government would consider elective, but the U.S. wouldn't. Therefore, they are performing surgeries that these children would not be receiving if this center was not open.
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