One of Dr. Dan's canine patients

One of Dr. Dan’s canine patients

At last, a veterinarian has come to stay!  Dr. Dan is a wonderful addition to the Floating Doctors team here in Panama–it is very hard to work in remote rural communities and see animals riddled with parasites or with horrible injuries that go untreated.

Dan and his wife Cindy moved in right next door to us, and have been incredibly supportive since they heard about our program.  We invited Dan to join us on one of our mobile clinic visits to the community of Cerro Brujo about 45 minutes away by boat, and it was like the first time we visit a community–all the chronically suffering patients are brought.  Dan had his hands full–a cow had been bitten by a snake, so you can imagine how happy I was to have a great vet!

Worms and other parasites that plague the communities often live in the animals, especially worms, so part of creating healthy communities is ridding the animals of their parasites.  Dr. Dan has accompanied us to other communities, including making the trek to La Sabana deep in the mountains, and we are thrilled to have him as part of our permanent team here.

Dan shared an email with us that he wrote to his family back in the US after his first mobile clinic with us, and we would like to share it with everyone to introduce you to a wonderful vet and wonderful human being.  Looking VERY forward to working with you and being neighbors!  –Dr. Ben

 

Dr. Dan Ever’s letter:

Dear family and friends,

Dr. Dan's office in tight quarters!

Dr. Dan’s office in tight quarters!

Thought I would update everyone after one of the greatest days I have had in Bocas del Toro Panama.  There is a wonderful organization here called the “Floating Doctors.”  They treat the indigenous tribes on the islands of Panama through purely a volunteer basis from people and doctors and allsorts of people from around the world, but mostly the United States.

Dr. Ben started this enormous project, which is his dream in life.  The FD work through donations to continue their monumental task as the indigenous tribes have no medical care, scant transportation, and no money.  They live off the land and sea.  Well, today the FD invited me to go with them to a village on an island about one hour away and thank God I didn’t get seasick of which I am quite famous.  A scrawny dog that jumped into the boat greeted us and I immediately said, “My first patient!”  Everyone laughed.

Another canine patient riddled with parasites

Another canine patient riddled with parasites

As we cautiously treaded up the very slippery, muddy, watery paths high up the steep hill slipping and sliding and even getting on all fours, we eventually arrived at the village.  Five or six dogs were there to greet us…”more patients,” I exclaim excitedly.  While Dr. Ben and his assistants went into various huts to treat people, I was asked to take a look at a cow that had been bitten by a snake in her rear leg.  “Sure, no problem!  Lead me to her” I said to Juan through an interpreter.

But I hadn’t worked on a cow in about 27 years so…I know nothing about cows!   Juan and the interpreter and I went down a steep, muddy path, crossed over a single, narrow log bridge, crawled in the mud under barb wire, then climbed up another steep hill on all fours, more barbed wire, and finally arrived at the family’s home who owned the cow.  The cow was laying on her chest when we skidded down another hill to get to her.  She promptly jumped up but could not walk well due to a possible hairline fracture in her left ulna/radius area.  Although she could still kick the daylights out of a mere human, and of course “gore” a mere human with her horns, Juan grabbed her by the nose and I proceeded to give her an antibiotic injection in her neck with lightening speed due to fear.

Dr. Ben consulting with a peace corps volunteer about issues in the community

Dr. Ben consulting with a peace corps volunteer about issues in the community

Dr. Ben went into their home of which I have included a picture, and he treated a young woman who had scabies.  The trip back to the main village was more difficult because of a light rain.  I was also called on to look at a pig that was not eating and depressed.   Juan grabbed that pig and body slammed him to the muddy ground.  Although that pig was sick, he certainly put up a valiant fight and ear piercing “squealing” while I stuck my finger up his butt to retrieve a fecal sample for analysis.  Gave him an antibiotic also and it was then another hike to see another pig that had some paralysis in his rear end but could still walk some.  Didn’t know what the heck to do to him…yup, another antibiotic injection while the pig was squealing and Juan had him in a headlock.

Lastly, Dr. Ben has arranged a project to lay a water line downhill to a new birthing house for the people.  Apparently a large group of students from Yale University are arriving next week and that is one of the things they will be doing…. ha-ha, would love to see the look on their faces when they see the mud, the slipperiness, and the steep, straight-up hills!  Get on all fours lest you ski down the Black Diamond of mud!  Juan then chopped down some coconuts, sliced them open with his machete and gave them to us to drink to thank us for coming to his village.   That was the best drink I have EVER had in my whole life!  We were all sweating, exhausted, and sooooo grateful to him for that nectar from heaven.

Another reluctant patient getting dewormed

Another reluctant patient getting dewormed

Before I got into our boat, I told Juan that he was my number one assistant and asked him if he would always help me because I think he is “Superman” (all through the interpreter of course). We loaded our boats again and off we headed to an island even farther away, but the rains poured down and we turned around and headed for home. Dr. Ben asked if I would be willing to accompany him every week to the out islands to help break the parasitic life cycle of which his patients are susceptible.  I told him I would be honored just to accompany him and that I have never been “paid” so much in my life.   Well, I really can’t believe that I have written such a long email and even send pictures!    Hope you are fine and we love you and we will see you next week!

 

Dad/Dan

P.S.  Anyone have some books on pigs and cows?

 

 

 

My first cow patient in about 25 years.  Snake bite in rear leg and lame left front leg.

My first cow patient in about 25 years. Snake bite in rear leg and lame left front leg.

 

 

Boat dock entrance to the village and muddy pathway

Boat dock entrance to the village and muddy pathway

 

The family who owns the snakebitten cow

The family who owns the snakebitten cow

 

 

Path through the village.  My poor sketchers!

Path through the village. My poor sketchers!

 

My humble little office

My humble little office

 

 

 


Comments

  1. Venkata Anupoju says:

    Doctor abrot,

    Iam touched by reading articles. You are a real doctor. I would like part of your organization directly or indirectly.

    Thank you
    Venkata Anupoju, CT USA

  2. Kenneth Bridges says:

    Dr. Ben,
    Where is your life jacket????????please were one ALL the time!!!!Make life jackets a requirement for everyone in the boats…….. Thanks for your compassion!!!!

  3. Yesenia says:

    I am studying right now to become a registered veterinary technician and I would love to volunteer my time to do something like this. This is wonderful. Once I become an RVT I will defiantly look into this!

  4. Jenny says:

    Do you still need the books on cows and pigs? I can send them. I am in California. Is there anything I can do from California?

    Would love to help!

    Jenny

  5. Hi Dan and Floating Doctors,
    My name is Kathy and my husband and I own a vet clinic in Wisconsin. My husband has done large animal work in the past, and is currently a small animal vet with an interest in missions. We have gone on numerous trips to third world countries with a group called Christian Vet Mission. They have quite a few books that they have produced for healthy care of animals in primitive conditions, and some of them are translated into Spanish. We would like to purchase some of these books for your work. You can check out what they have on their web site cvmusa.org They have a general “Where there is no animal doctor” and then specific species books, they have chickens, pigs, goats, rabbits in Spanish. If you are interested, check it out and let us know what you could use and we will purchase them and get them to you. We would also be interested in joining a group some time to participate in your great work. Do you ever need groups of animal related helpers? Sincerely, Kathy Schoenborn

  6. Susan Long says:

    Dan and Cindy
    I have left another message on this site but I wanted to make sure you got it. I so happy to see you finally made the move to panama. They definitely got a great veterinarian. If you ever need any help I would love to come down to work with you again. Those were the days in deland doing 20+ surgeries in a day. If you ever need any supplies I can send you the care package just let me know!

  7. June Jeffrey says:

    DAN…..
    COME BACK TO DELAND! MY DOGS NEED YOU!! Glad to see you enjoying your retirement. We do miss such a great vet in our community!

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