Surgical Chair Touches Lives with Healing the Children® New Jersey
“The beauty of healthcare is making a difference in someone’s life.”
It is not often that a medical professional uses his or her skills to change the life of child abroad. But one Berkeley College instructor is doing just that.
Joseph Charleman, Chair, Surgical Technologist and Surgical Processing Technician programs, School of Health Studies, has traveled abroad to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru as part of a medical team that evaluates and treats children needing major surgeries.
The volunteer pediatric surgical trips are organized by Healing the Children® New Jersey (HTCNJ), a nonprofit that provides access to medical care and related services for children in need in New Jersey and worldwide.
Volunteer medical professionals travel at their own expense for the eight- to 10-day trips. The trips often include surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists from New Jersey hospitals, as well as administrative laypersons to manage logistics.
In 2013, Mr. Charleman was part of a team that evaluated more than 300 patients and performed 50 operations during a mission to the Dominican Republic. In 2014, his team saw 500 patients and conducted 115 medical procedures in that country.
In 2014, three Berkeley College professors and an alumna visited Guayaquil, to work at the largest pediatric hospital in Ecuador. Juan Pablo Barros, the father of 4-year-old Hendry Isaac Barros Vera, expressed his sincere gratitude for the volunteers.
“My son has been sick since he was born,” said Mr. Barros. “He has had a few surgeries and this is the first time I see my son calm and happy so soon after the surgery. I am so grateful to the surgeon and all the volunteers from Healing the Children® and Berkeley College for making my son smile again.”
Berkeley College students and faculty members also volunteer their time to count, package and sterilize medical equipment to be taken on upcoming medical missions. The opportunity gives Medical Assistant, Surgical Technologist and Surgical Processing Technician students a chance to apply skills learned in the classroom.
“The beauty of healthcare is making a difference in someone’s life,” Mr. Charleman said. “There are so many people in need in this world, and to have a skill that can help them is a wonderful thing.”