In spite of Winter Storm Pax causing flight cancellations as far away as Tokyo (NRT) to Manila (MNL) and forcing the World Surgical Foundation crew in Pennsylvania to venture out ahead of the storm on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 to Detroit (DTW), MI by bus or plane, and winter storms in Japan canceling the flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT) on Thursday, 13 February, all the doctors, nurses, and volunteer staff were able to travel safely to General Santos City for WSF’s 2014 Philippines Surgical Mission.
Sunday screening and stock room setup went smoothly as 250+ patients were placed on the schedule for the eight (8) OR stations, and 51 balikbayan boxes were inventoried and catalogued for this 6-day surgical camp. The entire crew was finally assembled on Monday at General Santos City District Hospital as the first day of surgery was well underway.
Day 1 of surgery for this 6-day mission has come and gone with at least 40 major procedures already completed with another 200+ scheduled for the remainder of the week. WSF would like to thank Kendra Nichols and Jon Eirkson from abc27 News in Harrisburg for accompanying us. We need all the help we can get in spreading the word about the work World Surgical Foundation is doing to help reduce the surgical burden of disease in developing countries. And abc27 has been instrumental in reporting the growing and continuing need for such work in places like Honduras and the Philippines.
Check back here for updates as the week continues. Thank you for all your help and support. Remember to tell your friends and family about WSF so we can continue to heal the world one patient at a time.
Bernie Lopez, a Filipino journalist and videographer, accompanied the World Surgical Foundation on its medical mission to Coron, Palawan, Philippines from 24 - 28 February 2013. The following documentary showcases WSF's Adopt-a-Hospital program, highlights the importance of collaboration with local physicians and gives the viewer an up-close look at a World Surgical Foundation mission and its volunteers.
As medical care needs of the poor across the globe continue to rise, the World Surgical Foundation's work never ceases. Once the larger mission in Coron, Palawan was complete, Drs. Domingo and Veneranda Alvear along with a contingent of local Filipino physicians headed to Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao for WSF's 2nd Annual Pull-through Mission in the Philippines on 6 - 8 March 2013.
This mission was sponsored locally by the Philippine College of Surgeons chapter in Northern Mindanao at the Xavier University Community Health Care Center. Because of the complexities and follow-up care needed for the procedures, WSF can only hold these missions in geographically desirable areas with adequate medical facilities and available specialists. Again, collaboration is the key.
Pull-through missions focus primarily on Hirschsprung's disease and anorectal malformations/imperforate anus. Anorectal malformations occur once in every 4,500 live births and many of these defects can be corrected at birth or soon after. But in the Philippines sometimes all that can be done to save a child's life is performing a colostomy. And these children are why the World Surgical Foundation exists. By holding these focused missions, WSF is able to completely change lives. Instead of staying home or being ashamed because they have a colostomy, children can go on to lead happy, normal lives.
WSF was able to help 16 patients including 2 young adults aged 19 and 26 who now have a second chance at life without a colostomy. In addition to teaching new techniques or showing how to correctly use a Peña Muscle Stimulator for detecting the location of the anus, Dr. Alvear also performed a rather uncommon procedure called a colon interposition. By taking a section of the colon and using it to bridge a gap between the esophagus and the stomach, Dr. Alvear was able to give this 1-year-old patient a working digestive system thus saving him from a lifetime of tube feedings.
If you haven't already, read Jennifer's Blog entries for more stories and in-depth interviews about the Philippines 2013 Mission in Coron.
Next stop for the World Surgical Foundation is Honduras in September 2013.
Monday was the first day of surgeries for the World Surgical Foundation mission in Coron, Palawan. The team arrived on schedule and spent much of the morning working out the logistics of the hospital, assigning duties for the volunteers and locating all of the equipment and supplies stored in various rooms.
Surgeries were scheduled to begin at 8:00 AM but many of the patients arrived later due to the long distances they had to travel. Other surgeries were delayed because patients did not fast 6-8 hours prior to their operations requiring anesthesia. Something as simple as a chicken nugget or the regular feeding of a baby pushed procedures off until the afternoon or next day.
OB/GYN cases were the first to begin at 8:30 AM with general following at 9:30. Pediatric and plastic surgery cases could not start until 1:30 PM waiting for the patients who ate or drank to be ready. But by the end of the day only one pediatric case had to be rescheduled. In total 77 procedures were performed including 42 minor surgeries, 22 OB/GYN plus 13 plastic and pediatric surgeries.
Remember to Like Us on Facebook and read the Philippines 2013 Blog written by our resident blogger, Jennifer Prudencio!
Sunday, 24 February 2013 was Day 1 of the World Surgical Foundation's mission in the Philippines. After traveling for over 24 hours, not including the loss of a day thanks to the International Date Line, WSF volunteers were well rested and able to finish work that was started over a year before.
The World Surgical Foundation adopted Coron District Hospital on 4 December 2011 and this mission is the culmination of that endeavor. The 40 foot container sent to the hospital arrived in several truckloads. All of the boxed goods were already there when WSF arrived at the hospital on Sunday morning leaving two flatbeds filled with crates of all the heavy medical equipment. And since the hospital is located on a relatively undeveloped island in the Philippines there was no forklift. So with a hammer, a screwdriver and a lot of muscle, the doctors, nurses and volunteers along with local help unloaded the crates by hand and began to fully equip the hospital.
Coron District Hospital is the first hospital in the Philippines to be adopted by a foreign organization. WSF is using this hospital as a model for future adoptions to come. And this mission follows suit being the mold for the third and most important part of the World Surgical Foundation's mission to collaborate. By adopting a hospital WSF is promising to be different than other medical organizations. Instead of doing drive-by missions to never return, WSF strives to make a real difference in the lives of the people they touch. Because WSF was able to send all the equipment that a modern hospital needs, Coron District Hospital can serve as a base for future missions not only by WSF but also by local Philippine doctors who can return with regularity.
Another part of collaboration is apparent with the equal contingent of local Philippine doctors on this surgical mission. By having local doctors come and join WSF, sustainable healthcare is achieved. Followup care is a must with many of the complicated, life-saving procedures performed by WSF so having local doctors available in the event of difficulties ensures patients will receive just that. And teaching the local doctors how to perform these same procedures makes it possible for WSF's work to continue well beyond the dates of any given mission.
After finishing the setup of the ORs and stock rooms, Day 1 was complete. World Surgical Foundation did not have patients to screen because local doctors were able to do that before WSF arrived saving time and allowing our local counterparts to participate before the mission even began.
The day ended with a brief ceremony by Governor of Palawan, Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra, thanking the World Surgical Foundation for their generous donation, adopting the hospital and promising to continue providing needed help in the future.
Check back all week for updates and remember to Like Us on Facebook!