Written by Madeline Hellendag, MD, PGY-2 at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Obstetrics & Gynecology Program while on Global Health rotation at Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro in Antigua, Guatemala in October 2016.
As the only Spanish-speaking physician on the gynecology team, I had the incredibly special job of talking to each patient’s family member(s) after the surgery was finished. At the end of each case, I would peek my head outside of the operating room hallway and call out “Familia de [patient’s first name]”. If it was one of the first cases of the day, I would be calling out to a large crowd of people made up of all of that day’s patients and their families. If it was the last case of the day, there would be just a couple of people left who had been waiting all day for their turn. I was able to give these family members the wonderful news that their loved one’s surgery had gone very well and that the surgery would likely make her feel much better. Without exception, the family members would praise me, pray for me, and thank me profusely. I felt undeserving of their gratitude, but also