A team of 57 surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals -- along with church leaders and volunteers -- leave today on a 10-day mission trip to Targu-Ju, Romania.
Coordinated through Grace Baptist Church of Evans and Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta, this will be the group's second trip to Targu-Ju.
"They (the Romanians) have no money to buy medicines and things like that, and that's where we're able to help them. We hope this time to be able to see about 2,000 patients," said the team's leader, Dr. E.J. "Kiki" Stincer, a Columbia County resident who is a doctor of internal medicine.
A surgical team including a plastic surgeon and two general surgeons will make the trip to perform surgery on orphans.
"You've seen the story about the orphanages," Dr. Stincer said. "There are plenty of kids there with cleft lips and palates and other deformities. Basically, nobody's going to adopt those kids. By going down there and correcting deformities, not only will it change their lives, but hopefully, it will get them adopted."
Each day, 10 physicians and other medical professionals will see patients while volunteers man the pharmacy and provide crowd control.
Church leaders will conduct a children's ministry, like vacation Bible school, while the children's parents wait in line for medical care.
Those attending the clinics will be invited to evening worship service.
The team plans to travel to outlying towns, orphanages and the local prison to provide medical care.
The group includes a construction team to make repairs at the orphanages, Dr. Stincer said.
The group will take 4,000 pounds of medications and supplies.
Two 40-foot containers of medical supplies have been sent to Targu-Ju already, much of it donated by the local medical supply company Owens Minor, Dr. Stincer said.
"They (Romanian doctors) don't have access to medical supplies. They use kite string for sutures. Care there is probably like going back in time 75 years," Dr. Stincer said.
It takes two days of travel to reach Targu-Ju from Augusta. Along the way, the team will join 30 translators who speak Romanian.
The Augusta group returns May 25.