MARTINS?FERRY -- Dr. Renato and Nancy dela Cruz recently funded and spearheaded a recent medical-surgical mission to the Philippines.
Dr. Dela Cruz worked with the Medical Missions, Inc. of University of Santo Tomas, which is headed Dr. William Olalia.
The Belmont County physician also received donations and sponsorship from local businesses and churches in the valley.
"The Medical Missions, Inc. is self-contained," Dr. dela Cruz said. "They already have their own equipment and they have the student volunteers ... They will send a team to screen patients. Basically, what we are serving is the poorest of the poor."
Dr. Dela Cruz's mission was in the honor of his parents, Vicente and Milagros dela Cruz and his wife's Nancy father, Thomas Conley. The mission team consisted of 120 physicians, nurses and students from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines.
The mission trip took place from April 1-5.
Together the group served a total of 2,183 documented cases, while 756 surgical cases were broken down into 232 major cases consisting of Thyroidectomies, Hysterectomies, Myomectomies, Ovarian cysts, Mastectomies, Herniorrhaphies, Hydrocoelectomies, Chlolecystectomies, Chiloplasties, Cataracts and Pterygium.
Along with major surgeries, the mission team conducted 524 cases of minor surgeries, consisting Lipomas, Sebaceous cycst and 270 circumcision.
Dr. Dela Cruz did this mission trip as a way to give back. This was his fourth mission trip like this. His first one was in 2006.
According to Dr. dela Cruz, there were thousands of patients lined up seeking medical attention. The mission team took a school and turned the classrooms make-shift operating rooms.
Operating tables, at least 10 of them, were lined up in rows, as doctors worked simultaneously at each table. The patients were given a 30-day supply of medicine. Doctors, who took a week vacation, slept on mattresses on the floor. Patients could be seen outside holding up their own IV bags.
"A lot of my classmates joined because they wanted to do a mission like this," Sr. dela Cruz said. "I never thought I would do this, I haven't been to the Philippines for 30 years ... I was going to do just one, but after that (first) one, I just finished my fourth.
Van Dyne may be reached at