Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960

 

By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

Vasil, local doctor, helps patients in Ethiopia

 

April 23, 2013

Choosing to become a doctor usually means that you want to live a life of helping others and Lake Stevens doctor George Vasil has not only spent years helping many right here in Lake Stevens but he has also traveled to Ethiopia to help people in that country as well.

Vasil has been a Family Practice doctor at the Lake Stevens Everett Clinic since it opened in August of 1987 and throughout his tenure there he has made several trips to Ethiopia returning from his latest trip just last February.

“I went with Global Health Outreach, a medical and dental outreach program through the Christian Medical and Dental Association. I was one of three physicians in our group” Vasil said. “The other nine participants were a dentist/maxillofacial surgeon, a surgical assistant, a registered nurse, three pharmacists and three physical therapists.”

Their jobs included everything from prescribing and dispensing medications, treating orthopedic injuries, referring patients to specialists in Debre Berhan or Addis Ababa, and even sent seriously ill patients to the local hospital.

They worked in the city of Debre Berhan which is approximately 70 miles north of Addis Ababa.

“In the clinic we saw people of all ages, from babies to octogenarians. The physicians averaged between fifty and sixty patients per day,” Vasil explained. “Overall, those receiving dental, surgical, or medical care totaled about 1,600.”

Vasil shares how important this trip was to the local people.

“On the one Sunday we were there, three of us spoke at different churches, explaining why we had come. We were deeply appreciated by those we served,” he said. “The city officials took us to a local restaurant for dinner.”

Vasil started participating in these trips in March of 2008 after being inspired by other physicians who had gone in the past.

His first trip was to Camaroon where he spent two weeks helping those in need.

“There I worked at Banso Baptist Hospital. At that time, I went through Medical Teams International, which is headquartered in Portland,” Vasil said. “In January of 2009 I went to Liberia for two weeks with Global Health Outreach. There our team served in two villages, for four days each, in Monrovia Central Prison for a day, and in a Monrovia orphanage for a day.”

He then traveled to Galmi, Niger in February of 2011 where he worked at a local hospital.

“There I was privileged to spend part of my two weeks with Drs. Brian Shull, Mike Rohrenbach and Brett Lassinger, all of whom work at different locations at The Everett Clinic,” he said.

Just last spring Vasil was able to take his son Michael with him to Ouanaminthe, Haiti where they joined Dr. Dale Rahn, his wife Susie and his son Jared at the Lamb of God Orphanage.

“Dr. Rahn employed his optometry skills to examine over a hundred people’s eyes and issue eyeglasses whenever possible,” Vasil explained. “I worked at a local clinic, alongside Emily Bartelheimer, a mission nurse from Snohomish, who has made her home in Ouanaminthe for over two years.”

Vasil has met and created friendships over the years while also serving his fellow man, something that he feels is important as a Christian.

“As a Christian, I believe in using the gifts I have received to help others. I’m a bit surprised it took me so long to get started,” Vasil said. “I do pay all of my expenses for these trips but I am the one receiving the greater gift. Through service I find out more about who I am and I have learned that people all over the world are the same. We all want the same things for ourselves and our families: food, shelter, safety, and love.”

His goal is to be able to go on at least one medical mission a year.

 

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