Miriam White had dreamed about volunteering for five years.

She heard about Mercy Ships while at university. ‘The stories I read about patients they’ve provided surgery for touched my heart. I wanted to use my professional skills to make a difference and offer hope to people in need,’ Miriam explains.

So Miriam packed her bags and made the long trek from Auckland to Guinea, West Africa for her seven week tour-of-duty. She worked alongside another radiographer on board. Miriam’s tasks included performing x-rays on the Mercy Ships patients as part of their pre-surgery assessment, sometimes during their stay, and before they were discharged.

Miriam attended patients before and after their surgery as recovery after major surgery requires frequent monitoring. ‘I loved taking the discharge x-rays for the children who had received osteotomies (corrective surgery on their legs). It was exciting to see them standing straight for the first time.’

On her first day, Miriam performed a CT-scan for a patient; the images were a vital part of the assessment and treatment plan. This was significant because there is only one CAT scan for the entire population of 12 million people in Guinea, West Africa and accessing the service at $250 a time is well beyond the reach of the vast majority. So Miriam’s services on board the hospital ship doubles that capacity and, as with all Mercy Ships services, it is provided free of charge to the patients.


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