Helping others has always been a passion for Manning native, Cathy Tigges. It’s why she pursued a career in nursing and it’s why she participated in a week long mission trip to Santiago in the north central region of the Dominican Republic this November.
“After going to Santiago, I realized how fortunate we really are,” Tigges said. “I saw firsthand how much medical help is desperately needed there.”
Cathy has worked at St. Anthony for 38 years and is in the post-anesthesia care unit in the St. Anthony Surgery Center. Her commitment to serving others extends beyond her daily shifts.
In August, Cathy was visiting with Chris Hanson, CRNA, NSPM-C, who conducts the St. Anthony Pain Management Clinic when the topic turned to missionary work. Chris had previously ventured to the Dominican Republic with a medical mission group sponsored by Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Cathy said that conversation quickly evolved into her signing up for the next volunteer mission trip.
For this specific trip, the American group was tasked with performing hernia surgeries. In the group were doctors, pharmacists, nurses and aides, CRNA's, and anesthesiologists. They prepared patients for surgery, assisted surgeons, and provided post-operative care for patients in a clinic setting.
"Supplies had been shipped from the U.S. back in August but didn't arrive until the last day of the trip," Tigges said. "All of the medical supplies we used were donated. We landed on a Saturday, sorted through supplies on Sunday, and started surgery on Monday morning. We performed 106 hernia repairs in the clinic over five days, working up to twelve hours each day,” Tigges said.
“I realized on this trip that we have many luxuries we take for granted – things as simple as having sterile gowns and drapes or as complex as advanced technology."
Tigges explained that some patients rode a bus for nearly three hours, waited outside on benches before surgery, and returned to those benches as quickly as an hour after surgery, only to wait for the bus back home.
"Of the patients that were seen, 35 were children. We had book bags, toys, and little gifts that we could give to them during their long day at the clinic," Tigges said.
Cathy is also grateful for the support of St. Anthony who provides a mission trip support fund to match employee vacation hours.
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