Fresno health care professionals run into unexpected problems on medical mission trip to Southeast Asia

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A group of Fresno health professionals ran into some unexpected problems on their recent medical mission to Southeast Asia. Most of the medical equipment and pharmaceuticals packed for the trip never made it to remote villages in Thailand and Myanmar.

"We had about 40 bins that we checked in. I think we believe we were able to get four or five of them," said Dr. Mark Chin, Fresno.

But Dr. Chin says the 20 member team was able to adapt and buy medication and find equipment to treat villagers during the two-week trip.

"Because of our connection with a lot of health centers in Thailand we were able acquire surgical kits and instruments that the surgeons could use," said Dr. Bill Ho, Fresno dentist.

Instead of dental restoration work more time was spent passing out tooth brushes and educating kids.

"I think we saw everyone we needed to see. I don't think we turned anyone away," said Dr. Chin.

The important thing for this group was the chance to return to treat families who don't have access to healthcare-- some were in re-location camps.

"We really do have a responsibility to be our brother's keeper and to see if we can help with any of the discomfort, the pain that they're having," said Dr. Jack Patton, Fresno.

The group hopes to return in two years for what would be for some their eighth trip. The mission was sponsored by the First Chinese Baptist Church of Fresno.

"One day I said to the church, 'you know, we've got a church full of dentists and doctors and nurses and pharmacists and we should obviously do something with that,'" said Rev. Danny Jack, First Chinese Baptist Church.

Without their equipment optometrists weren't able to craft eyeglasses but they performed exams so glasses will be made and then sent back to the villages.
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