Day 4 Saturday
Sorry I haven’t been able to post this yet but the wi-fi has been down since we arrived. I am just keeping a running blog of our daily events. Hopefully I will be able to send it soon.
Dr. Belanger was doing a L 1 – L2 VCR case in one room which was an 8 hour surgery and Dr. Angobaldo was doing 4 other cases in the next room. His 1stcase was actually one of our spine patients from 2 years ago. She had a 6thdigit on both of her hands that had never formed. This is called Polydactaly. She came in for the post op of our surgery and decided she did want those little fingers removed. So, Dr. Angobaldo removed them and she was so excited!
His next case is a man who was 28 yr old who was burned as an infant in his abdomen and genital areas. Dr. Angobaldo did a contracture release and skin graft to make it normal. The surgery was a success and I’m sure he will be happy when he heals!
For his last patient I had Abe call me downstairs to come see this little 3-year-old girl who had been burned by fire and we needed to come see her. Dr. Angobaldo, Ashton & I went to see her. It was a horrible sight. This poor baby was wearing a dress and was walking by fire and it caught fire and stuck to her chest, neck, lower part of her face and chin, her shin and her arms. All of it was healed except her entire chest. Finally, they took it off and I looked and this poor baby had not one piece of flesh on her entire abdomen. Dr. Angobaldo decided to take her to surgery and do a skin graft to cover her chest so it would heal quicker. Today she is doing well. She won’t smile at us but that’s to be expected.
Tonight, Professor Michel Onimus and his wife Michele arrived from France. He is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon with EXTENSIVE experience.
Day 5 Sunday
Today, We had several other people arrive to join our mission. Dr. Julie Santarosa is a general surgeon, Ana Costa is an anesthesiologist from NY, Phillipe & Claudia Laurito who is founder and CEO of Spine Way, Sophie & Francisco who are from Portugal. They came to film a documentary on our mission. Berengere is a photographer who came from France to take professional photos, and Dr. Jeff Aucoin who is a neurosurgeon who is currently doing a fellowship with Texas Back Institute.
We have a full house!
Today Dr. Belanger did a L 1 – L2 VCR on a 15-year-old girl. I scrubbed in with him for this surgery. The surgery on her back took 9 hours. She is currently having a breast reduction by Dr. Angobaldo. He just went ahead and did it since she was under anesthesia. The weight of her breasts that aren’t even finished growing would put stress on the implants that Dr. Belanger just put in her back. Professor Onimus did a 90-degree scoliosis surgery on a 14 yr old boy in another room.
It’s currently 8pm and we are still at the hospital. We have been here 12 hours. We are waiting for Dr. Angobaldo to finish her breast reduction. We will then go back to the hotel and try to eat. We then will have to get back up and be back at the hospital at 7am for 3 surgeries tomorrow one of which will take 14 hours to complete! Whew we’ve only operated 3 days so far and we’ve done 10 surgeries!
We still have 10 days left here! Good night!
Day 6 Monday
Today Dr. Belanger will be doing surgery on a 46 yr old lady who has ankylosing spondylitis. She is completely bent over. She has the same deformity that Hayminot had when we did his surgery in the USA.