You’ve seen The Surgery Ship feature film. Now find out where our amazing volunteers are now!

Dr. Neil Thomson
Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon

Dr. Neil has been back to serve on board three times since The Surgery Ship: Benin, Guinea and Senegal. “I am still in contact with the local doctor who worked with our team on the ship. Otherwise,  other than teaching and surgery, a lot of my time is in finishing off a text book and iPhone version  for medical students. ”

Dr. Nerida Moore
Plastic Surgeon

Since The Surgery Ship, driven largely by her exposure to a variety of paediatric and global health issues while serving in West Africa, Dr. Nerida has retrained in Paediatrics and Global Health and will finish her General Paediatric training next year. “From a global health perspective, I have worked in Malawi and Zambia doing community health education and in Togo as a Paediatrician both clinically, as well as in public health. I was awarded a Phd in Medicine in 2017 and will graduate with a Masters of Global Health this year. In more exciting news I fell in love and got married at the end of 2013 and have had two cheeky and cuddly children, the eldest 3 years and youngest 18 months.”

Nick Veltjens
Physical Therapist

Since The Surgery Ship was first aired, so much has happened for physio Nick. He met and married Suzanne, a nurse from the US, and they continued serving with Mercy Ships.  In 2015, they moved to Albertville, France for an intensive French language study to further equip them to work in French speaking West African nations.  They then continued with Mercy Ships in Madagascar, Benin, Cameroon, Guinea and Senegal.  In the last 5 years, Nick has been focused on our Clubfoot Program and providing mentorship to local professionals in each country Mercy Ships has visited.  He’s very proud of each of our partners; “they are the ones who are going to change the future for kids with clubfoot in their countries”. Nick and Suzanne wrapped up their current service with Mercy Ships in May 2020, and recently arrived back in Australia.  Nick and Suzanne absolutely love West Africa and Mercy Ships, and are excited too see what the future holds.

Deb Louden
Ward Nurse

After the filming of The Surgery Ship, Deb continued to work in the Maxillo-facial ward on the M/V Africa Mercy through the field services in the Republic of Congo and two field services in Madagascar ending in mid 2016. “The total time I had volunteered with Mercy Ships by then was 6 years. Returning back to my home town in Queensland, Australia was good but difficult at the same time. I had left a world I loved and I needed to figure out how to fit back into my own culture and home environment. Towards the end of 2017 I was asked to return to the ship to fill in the position of Maxillo-facial Ward Nurse Team Leader which I happily agreed to do for the remaining four and a half months of the Cameroon field service. The position was challenging but very fulfilling to lead the team of nurses and local Cameroon day crew as they cared for all the types of Maxillo-facial patients. Following this I spent two further months volunteering for a Baptist Mission Hospital in northern Togo, West Africa, as a Paediatric Nurse. Working and living in the community in rural Africa had been something I had wanted to try for years and I was pleased with myself for being brave enough to give it a go. Every patient deserves the best healthcare they can get and I will live my life striving to give the best care I can, no matter what country I am working in.”

Daniel Bergman
Ward Nurse

Daniel currently works as a flight nurse and clinical educator on emergency helicopters in Colorado and New Mexico.  “After leaving the ship our family moved to Durango, Colorado. I have been back to the ship a few times in Cameroon and Guinea and was able to spend a day with Yaya again! I also have been serving with Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). I have deployed to Iraq during the battle for Mosul against ISIS working in a field trauma hospital and to Mozambique after cyclone Iada working as a neonatal nurse in the labor and delivery ward. My oldest daughter graduated high school and has been accepted to nursing school and my youngest daughter is now a senior in high school and also plans to attend nursing school. My wife continues to work from home and volunteers with our church.”