Kylie and Dan Huber, and Hannah
Kylie has volunteered in the operating theatres on three different Mercy Ships. On her last trip in 2006 she met Dan on board.
Fast forward to 2023, and Kylie is the clinical supervisor for the operating theatres on the Global Mercy – and this time their daughter is with them. Hannah attends the international school on board. Dan uses his trades and engineering skills to help several departments and is the family’s designated primary caregiver for Hannah when she’s not in school.
Using her operating theatre nurse expertise to benefit the marginalised in low-income countries was a passion that has driven Kylie Bentham Huber since her nursing school days When she learned about the work of the hospital ship not-for-profit Mercy Ships working in sub-Saharan Africa in 2002, the dots connected. “It appealed to me that I could work on a ship and be an operating theatre nurse. I knew it would be a unique place to work, with crew from all over the world serving with a common goal. These same reasons still drive me today,” Huber reflects.
Launching the new hospital ship
The Global Mercy was in the equipping phase in Europe when the Huber family joined the crew in 2022.
Medical machines were being installed, medical supplies loaded, and last-minute upgrades were being completed.
Kylie made sure from a practical viewpoint that all the equipment was fit for purpose. “Overseeing the Operating Room Department as an end user of all the equipment and spaces, I ensured it would functional well when we went to field service.”
When the Global Mercy ’s inaugural surgical field service began in Dakar, Senegal in January 2022, and Huber’s role pivoted. “I am clinically supervising the Operating Rooms Department making sure that the crew have what they need to function properly. Since this is a new platform there are many challenges as we start up the hospital. Flexibility is a key, and to give yourself grace as some processes may work and others not. I make sure that safe surgery can take place.”