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Faith In Practice Expands Surgery Center in Antigua, Guatemala, to Provide Additional Medical Services to the Poor.

HOUSTON -- Houston-based non-profit organization completes $500,000 project, Invites print and broadcast media along for July trip

Faith In Practice, a Houston-based non-profit organization that provides medical and dental services to the poor, has expanded the surgery center at Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro in Antigua, Guatemala. This private hospital and orphanage, owned and run by the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church, is the beneficiary of a $500,000 expansion project. The project was funded by donations to Faith In Practice. The Operating Room Expansion and Renovation Campaign was initiated in November 2004 and completed in June 2006.

Faith In Practice is inviting representatives of print and broadcast media throughout the United States and Latin America to join the mission team in Antigua, Guatemala, for a pediatric orthopedic surgical trip during the week of July 8-15.

Established in 1993 by Rev. Dr. Todd Collier, Faith In Practice is an interfaith mission organization that has supplied 142 teams of medical, dental, surgical and family practice volunteers, specializing in gynecology, orthopedic, ear, nose and throat, plastic, and general surgery since its inception. The new operating suites at Hermano Pedro will allow the Faith In Practice volunteers to continue their medical mission work to those in need at one of the best facilities in Guatemala.

Padre Jose Contran, a Franciscan friar based in Antigua, Guatemala, manages the facility where more than 300 orphan children and adults suffering from debilitating conditions live.

"The new operating rooms will allow for more complex surgical procedures to be performed and provide room for Guatemalan surgeons to participate with Faith In Practice surgeons from throughout the United States. Previously, these rooms were too small to fit extra people who wanted to observe surgeries," said Joe Wiatt, co-founder of Faith In Practice and retired U.S. Army operating room technician.

In 2005, 554 physicians, therapists, nurses, and others who volunteer with Faith In Practice joined with mission teams from around the world to operate at Hermano Pedro throughout the year. Together, they met the surgical needs of more than 4,000 patients. When its 2006 mission season is complete, Faith In Practice will have sent 614 volunteers to provide surgical care at the newly expanded facility and to deliver medical care and surgical referrals in their rural and inner city family practice clinics. The expansion of the surgical facility will allow Faith In Practice to perform 20 to 25 percent more surgeries each year.

"Through increased capacity and efficiency, we expect mission teams to accomplish about 5,000 surgeries per year at little cost to the Guatemalan patients, except for a small voluntary donation to the hospital. The benefits of the new surgical center include: improved efficiency of sterilization, larger space to accommodate time-saving surgical equipment, new electrical and plumbing systems, a medical computer network for a patient information database, and air-conditioning to prevent the volunteers from becoming fatigued in the heat," said Wiatt. "The transformation of the old surgery rooms to the five new surgery rooms is truly a miracle for the poor of Guatemala, bringing the best doctors and the finest equipment together to serve in the name of Christ."

Additional Information

The renovations to the hospital came as a response to an increase in underserved patients who were unable to find medical care and also because of a rise in the need for more complex surgical procedures in recent years.

Faith In Practice is co-hosting a grand opening and dedication of the expanded facility on Saturday, June 24, at 9:30 a.m. at Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro, located at 6 Calle Oriente N. 20 in Antigua, Guatemala. This ceremony will be followed by an ecumenical worship celebration at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, at San Francisco Church, located at the east end of 8a Calle Oriente and Calle de los Pasos in Antigua, Guatemala, that will be attended by more than 70 doctors and Faith In Practice supporters from Houston and other areas of the United States.

Faith In Practice secured the funds for the expansion of the surgery center, which includes updated surgical and sterilization equipment and five new operating rooms, through donations from individuals, hospitals, businesses and charitable foundations throughout the United States.

Dr. Brian Strake Parsley, a Houston orthopedic surgeon and a member of Faith In Practice's Board of Directors, chaired the fundraising effort and Dan S. Wilford, retired CEO of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, co-chaired the equipment acquisition campaign.

Charities, hospitals and organizations that contributed to the renovation project include: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Citizen's Medical Center of Victoria, TX, Common Hope, DeTar Hospital, East Georgia Regional Medical Center, First Colony Church of Christ in Sugar Land, The Fondren Foundation, Gracely Footprints Foundation, The GreenTree Fund, HCA, Health for Humanity, The Hildebrand Foundation, The Hoglund Foundation, Jack H. and William M. Light Charitable Trust, Joe T. and Billie Carol McMillan Charitable Foundation, John P. McGovern Foundation, Medicos en Accion, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, The Methodist Hospital of Houston, Rotary Club of Livingston, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston, St. Joseph's/Candler Health System of Savannah, GA, Sugar Land Rotary Club, and Walter Oil and Gas Corporation.

For more information about Faith In Practice, volunteer opportunities, or contributions to Faith In Practice, visit www.faithinpractice.org, call (713) 484-5555, or send an e-mail to development@faithinpractice.org. Faith In Practice is located at 7500 Beechnut Street, Suite 208, Houston, Texas.

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Date:Jun 22, 2006
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