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First Coast Nurse Performs Life-Changing Operations On Mercy Hospital Ship

11:32 AM, May 4, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A First Coast nurse spent her vacation on a hospital ship, taking part in life-changing operations off the coast of Africa. 

In the midst of planning her wedding, Katie Campbell took a break from flower arrangements and dresses to live on the hospital ship Africa Mercy.

The ship is part a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978.

Campbell's ship was docked off the west coast of Africa.  She assisted in free surgeries for close to a month.

"I get goose bumps just thinking about it, the emotion behind the people who might die if they don't get this," Campbell said of the desperation of the patients she helped treat.

As a nurse, the experience was educational, but Campbell said it also put her own life in perspective.

"I'm getting married and I was so caught up in my dress and the flowers," she said, "Then you realize, who cares if the flowers don't match exactly?  Your priorities are just completely different."

The ship docks for ten months at a time and volunteers can stay on the ship for as long as they want.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MISSION OR HOW TO VOLUNTEER IN A NON-MEDICAL CAPACITY

First Coast News