KODE — Kansas City University, including the Joplin Campus, is offering medical mission trips after a two year hiatus.

“Sometimes we will read about stuff and it doesn’t impact you until you come in and see a family of four and they have to choose between food or medicine,” said Dr. Gautam Desai, Professor and KCU’s Chair of Primary Care

Kansas City University and KCU-Joplin students are on a medical mission trip in Guatemala.

“COVID has taken the access even out of play further than before. So a lot of places have hospitals with no physicians. So we are providing free primary care as well as osteopathic manipulation,” said Dr. Desai.

The university purchased thousand of dollars of antibiotics, steroid creams and other medications for the trip.

“A lot of patients get arthritis at an early age because by the time they’re children they’re carrying loads on their head and working outside and things that we don’t normally do as early in the United States. So they get arthritis prematurely.”

“Its different because we don’t have the same resources we would have in the United States. A patient coming into the emergency room or to a primary care clinic can get a whole smattering of tests and a full diagnostic workup. Here we don’t have those resources. We have to really rely on our knowledge and what we can visually see,” said Blair Freed, a 4th year osteopathic medical student at KCU.

The students are in the middle of spending 16 days in Guatemala offering checkups and treating patients with chronic pain.

“I think the most valuable thing we takeaway as medical students is the skill sets and this knowledge we’ve been accumulating over the past several years is we can take it and apply it to anywhere in the world,” added Freed.