Chad Eustis, a general surgeon who works in the Tri-County, said he performed 41 operations in three days as part of the mission. While there, he met Enrique and quickly realized the teen’s treatment required equipment and facilities that exceeded what was available in his home country.
“The problem is the infection in the bone is making him sick,” Chad Eustis said. “With the infection, the bone never really healed... I just sort of washed out the infection from his leg while I was there. It just takes the pressure off from an infectious perspective.”
On Saturday, Dec. 6, Eustis sent a short e-mail from Honduras to Oak Tree Hospital CEO Alan Coppock.
“Sorry I have to be brief, “ Chad Eustis wrote. “There is a 19 year old boy who has an infected left femur rod and a left bka... [below the knee amputation]. If I find an orthopod to help remove rod, can OTH [Oak Tree Hospital] donate his postop hospitalization?”
Coppock read that message on a Sunday morning after church, and starting making arrangements that week for Enrique’s care.
“I called John Henson, who’s the CEO of Baptist Care Regional,” Coppock said, “and I said ‘Dr. Eustis is in Honduras and has a 19 year old young man who needs some pretty intense work done, it’s pretty critical to his survival, and would you be willing to donate services if Oak Tree donates the actual nursing care.’ And John said sure; it didn’t even take two or three days to decide.”
Both hospitals and all physicians involved donated their services at no cost for Enrique. According to one letter from Coppock, post-operative care at Oak Tree alone was estimated to cost more than $1,100 a day.
A series of e-mails back and forth while the Eustises were in Honduras documents how quickly everything came together.