A Medical Perspective: Dr. Soucie’s Story

One of the most crucial parts of our preparation for a safe HXP summer is our on-call doctor. Because safety is our number one priority, we put in extra care to make sure that wherever our Builders are, they are in good hands. Because of this, every part of the trip-planning process takes safety into consideration.

Dr. Soucie is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to extra precautions we take to keep Builder safe. For several years, Dr. Soucie, a board-certified family medicine physician, has made himself available 24/7, May through August, to give advice and answer any medical questions. In addition to his volunteered time during the summer, Dr. Soucie comes to the weekend-long Trip Leader training, where he prepares Trip Leaders for common travel health occurrences like dehydration, motion sickness, and diarrhea. Regardless of the hour of day and severity of the question, Dr. Soucie is quick to answer, patient beyond measure, and confident in his advice on how to best move forward. 

In his own words, Dr. Soucie said:

“I got involved with Humanitarian XP by answering a few phone questions several years ago. Since then, it has become an opportunity that I do every summer—I LOVE IT! It’s such a wonderful experience to be able to see these young people go fulfill a dream and participate in serving others and though I’m not standing next to them most of the time, I get to speak to many of them or hear of their adventures through text messages and it’s such a thrill. I myself have gone on several HumanitarianXP trips with my children and have not only seen many HumanitarianXP miracles but experienced a miracle myself this summer.”

Dr. Soucie is readily available to give appropriate health advice and genuine concern for the Builders that need medical help beyond what their Trip Leaders have been trained to assist with. Despite all the preparation to help Builders stay safe, inevitable accidents occur. When this happens, we confidently rely on Dr. Soucie and our team at International SOS (a third party emergency assistance organization that coordinates with local care providers around the world in order to insure your international safety). 

Throughout decades of running trips, there have been an overwhelming amount of medical miracles that have taken place each summer. We know that a large reason for these miracles is a result from the prayers of the Builders, Trip Leaders, and Parents at Home. 

Dr. Soucie shares an example of one of these medical miracles. 

“This summer, we had a young man who jumped off a dock into what he thought was deep water, and break his ankle. He was very disappointed and crushed, thinking that he would have to go home and not be able to serve the people that he signed up to serve. However, after prayer and fasting and consulting with several physicians, it was a pleasure to find out that he had just the right fracture that would allow him to stay in the country with a walking boot and allow him to complete his service trip. When I told that to him over the phone, I could hear him start to cry tears of joy in the background, because he knew he would be able to stay and fulfill his service mission. HumanitarianXP miracle!!”

This miracle is just one of countless miracles that HXP witnessed last year.

Dr. Soucie experienced his very own medical miracle this summer, and gained even more empathy for the Builders he has helped for years.

“Each summer before I leave on a trip I pack my own medical bag trying to make sure I have everything in that bag I would need in order to treat someone in need. Little did I know this summer I would need that one specific medication myself. As I prepared to leave I threw a random bottle of old steroid in the bag thinking that perhaps it just might come in handy.

Two weeks later I was standing at 15,000 feet near the top of Mount Cotopaxi when I started to have an allergic anaphylaxis reaction to something I had eaten. By the time I got halfway down the mountain it was becoming quite serious and by the time I got to the bus I knew I was in trouble.  I was miles from any medical care. I remembered however that I had thrown that bottle of steroid in my bag and so that along with the Benadryl literally saved me from some serious complications and potentially, saved my life. It was a lesson to me that whether I’m answering the phone, or I am packing a bag or whether I’m in the room with a patient or a participant of Humanitarian XP, it’s important to listen to the still small voice as you receive promptings to do ‘something’ because you’ll never know when those promptings are meant to provide life-saving benefits.”

We are so grateful to have such a caring, dedicated person like Dr. Soucie working with us throughout the summer to add an extra measure of safety to HXP trips each summer. To learn about additional ways HumanitarianXP keeps Builders safe, click here.