ARDMORE, OK - "24 hours later I was on a plane to the Philippines on my birthday," said Dr. Daniel McKinley, who practices emergency medicine at Mercy Hospital in Ardmore.
But after getting an email from an emergency medicine group about an expedition the doctor changed his birthday plans from a trip to NYC to...
"Sibu, Philippines, which is sort of along the line of where Typhoon Haiyan--or Yolanda as the Filipinos were calling it--where it went through," said McKinley.
From November 22nd to December 5th McKinley and a team of physicians worked around the clock spending their days riding in a military transport vehicle from village to village and tending to the sick and hurt.
"Seeing as many patients as we could until it got dark out," he said.
McKinley said downed power lines and homes without their roofs were among the wreckage the typhoon left behind, causing sleepless nights for many Filipinos.
"We saw a lot of people who just hadn't been able to sleep in several days or weeks," McKinley said. "Just because their houses were gone."
As doctors like McKinley help people thousands of miles away Mercy Hospital supports their mission from home.
"We see our work here as a ministry," said Randy Jobe, Vice President of Mercy Clinic. "And so supporting him in his mission trips is consistent with the ministry and our approach to healthcare here."
McKinley said he was happy to serve in the Philippines, and now he's grateful for everything he brought back..
"It gives you a really good appreciation for how medicine's practiced in other places and I think it does sort of help when you get back to the States how lucky we all are for what we've got," he said.
McKinley plans to go to the Dominican Republic with a pediatric cardiac surgery group in January.