By Jessica Brodie
QUETZALTENANGO, Guatemala—People in Guatemala’s western highlands will soon have better access to much-needed medical care, including surgeries.
Healing Guatemala’s Hospital Bethesda, a medical ministry founded there by physician and United Methodist elder Dr. Luke Rhyee, is now officially licensed as a hospital.
“The hospital license will take Bethesda to the next level,” Rhyee told the Advocate, noting that before, they were licensed as a family medical clinic and a dental clinic, which meant they could only provide outpatient medical services.
The hospital license will allow them to expand their medical services greatly and help even more people than before.
Right now, Rhyee said, Hospital Bethesda has a family medicine clinic, an internal medicine clinic, a general surgery clinic, an obstetrics and gynecology clinic, a pediatric clinic, an orthopedic surgery clinic, an ophthalmology clinic, a clinical laboratory, a radiology department, a physical therapy clinic, a pharmacy, a surgery suite and an inpatient ward. A dental clinic is also onsite.
They received the license May 27 and plan to begin surgeries and hospitalization services this month. As of press time, Rhyee said they have a cesarean-section candidate who might be the first patient to undergo a general anesthesia at Bethesda.
“And most likely she and her baby would be the first patients to be hospitalized,” Rhyee said. “I think we should prepare a gift for the baby and the mom. I am so excited!”
In November, the hospital is expecting a computerized axial tomography scanner, or CAT scanner, and other medical equipment.
“The hospital license means for me that Healing Guatemala is moving another notch toward the goal through Hospital Bethesda, which is the holistic healing of God—physical, social and spiritual healing, although Healing Guatemala has a long way to go,” Rhyee said.
Also, the license will help Hospital Bethesda be self-sustainable, as it will be able to rent facilities, such as a surgery suite and patient rooms, to local doctors.
Quetzaltenango, which is about a five-hour drive from Guatemala City, serves a million people who live nearby, mainly in the mountains. The majority are Mayan indigenous people who speak one of 23 languages and not the country’s official language, Spanish. Because of that, they have little power and access to assistance.
Healing Guatemala, through Hospital Bethesda and other ministry efforts in the area, tries to make a difference in Guatemala for the sake of Christ.
Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, along with the Rev. Ken Nelson, headed to Quetzaltenango in July 2018 to dedicate the clinic on behalf of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.
Rhyee hopes to host an inauguration service for Bethesda soon to celebrate the hospital license and the work God is doing among the people there. Until then, Rhyee and others are working hard to secure needed medical equipment to help the hospital serve the region as best as possible. They are seeking hospital beds and furniture, as well as equipment for their OB-GYN and ophthalmology surgery room (especially an autoclave with a large capacity), their clinical lab and their emergency room. So far, Rhyee said, a CT scanner, an ultrasound machine, and two hemodialysis machines were donated by ChonNam National University Hwasun Hospital in South Korea, as well as ultrasound machines, clinical lab equipment and dental equipment from the United States. Rhyee has been working to coordinate shipping.
For questions about donations or how to help Healing Guatemala, email Rhyee at [email protected], or write Healing Guatemala, P.O. Box 1835, Duluth, GA 30096.