Oklahoma volunteers head to Thailand

Monday, March 7th 2005, 9:48 am
By: News On 6

CHICKASHA, Okla. (AP) _ Volunteers, including doctors, nurses and a pharmacist, have left Oklahoma on a trip to Thailand, where they will set up temporary medical, dental and eye clinics to help tsunami victims.

The 38-member Faith Medical Missions group departed Sunday with 3,000 pairs of eyeglasses and $100,000 in medicine. Group members plan to see 1,000 patients a day for six days.

``When you have something like this happen, the people lose everything,'' said minister John Wilson, leader of the group. ``They don't have that much to begin with, and they lose that.''

The group planned to visit five locations in six days. Some of the volunteers will help rebuild homes.

Dr. Chris Davis, an intestinal surgeon in Oklahoma City, will be one of the doctors traveling to Thailand with Faith Medical Missions. The doctor has been on other mission trips and said he is honored to go each time.

``I think that those of us who have been blessed have an obligation to share those blessings,'' he said. ``I don't think I could enjoy my life if I didn't share what I have.''

Working in a temporary office can be challenging, Davis said, because of the lack of high-tech equipment.

``You have to use experience and instinct _ your essential medical tools,'' he said.

Diagnosing mental problems will be another part of the mission services, said Dr. Ron Sanders, the group's medical leader and a retired doctor living in Stillwater.

``I'm afraid we're going to run into some of that in Thailand _ people feeling hopeless because of all they've lost,'' he said. ``It's going to be difficult.''

Sanders said he expects to treat minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises. However, the doctor said the real problems will be diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria, and also depression.

``We're going to see people who lost children or husbands or relatives,'' he said. ``That's hard to deal with.''