Friday, August 12, 2005
The Google mailbag is filled with stories like this one, demonstrating the reach of Google across countries and between people. Occasionally we'll feature such a story here and hope you enjoy reading them. If you have a noteworthy tale about how you've used Google, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Escobosa is the executive director of Operation Rainbow, an all-volunteer organization which organizes medical missions to poor countries for American doctors and nurses specializing in orthopedic and plastic surgery. The people on these missions are affiliated with Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, and one regular stop for them has been Esteli, Nicaragua. Among those mentioning his Operation Rainbow experience is Dr. Elliot Krane, who cites it on his CV.
Just two weeks ago, this year's team was preparing for its annual trip to Esteli. At the same time, a quite unrelated journey was underway. A young American woman, Alice Orman, was visiting Esteli en route to her new year-long role as an English teacher in Honduras. While in Esteli, she had an accident that led to a leg break in two places. Though local doctors wanted to help, they lacked good facilities or equipment for setting a complicated break properly.
Someone at the hospital remembered the Stanford doctors. The staff knew they were coming soon, but who, and when? Alice called her parents in Nashville for help. They went to Google and typed in [Esteli Stanford] and up came Dr. Krane's reference. They emailed him late that night, and by morning he had replied from his office in Palo Alto. He told them about Dr. Larry Rinsky, an orthopedic surgeon who was packing his bags right then for Esteli. With a copy of Dr. Krane's email reply in hand, Dr. Rinsky called Alice's parents and assured them he would see Alice, and that the team would do what it could for her.
So Alice rested and waited another day, hoping that the arriving team would treat her in addition to their Nicaraguan patients. Ms Escobosa says the team of Stanford doctors and nurses treated her right away, gave her crutches and some TLC too. Within a short time she was able to continue on to Honduras for her year of teaching. And she's there now.
Back in Nashville, Scott and Mindy Orman were very relieved: "When we received the call from Alice," writes Mindy, "we were very worried and didn't know how we could help, being so far away. But the miraculous timing of the Stanford doctors' annual mission trip to Esteli, and the Google search that led us to them, assured us that Alice would be in good hands. We are so thankful for all the prayers and encouragement of so many folks and the excellent care she received from the Stanford team."
Ms. Escobosa wrote us to marvel at the coincidences that led to this happy ending. We're glad we could be part of it.