Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Mission 2019 – Days 9 & 10


August 17-18, 2019

Day 9 and 10


This weekend was MUCH needed. After lots of late nights and a heavy case load last week, we were all slowing down. Three members of Team 1 left us on Saturday morning—Dr. Kayanja, Teisha, and Ashlee—and the rest of us that were staying for week two as well had a day to ourselves. But fear not, we didn’t neglect our patients! Dr. Schaffer started his day by rounding on our cases from this week, discharging those that had been operated on early in the week and were ready to go home. Then it was my job to get caught up on note-taking and updating our patient records. Dr. Schaffer then set to work on a lecture that he is giving to some med students and post-grads later this week. The rest of us had a more relaxing day—venturing into the city with some locals or lounging at the hotel. Regardless, we all had ample time to sleep and get recharged for another busy week once Team 2 arrived.

Team 2 arrived early Sunday morning, bringing Dr. Isador Lieberman, Dr. Michael Hisey, both orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Stephen Gorlick, family physician, Sherri LaCivita, scrub technician, Sue Benton, nurse anesthetist, Brian Failla, equipment technician, and Kari Zagar, neuromonitoring technician. That brings our Team 2 total to 11 people.



Team 2 ready to get to work at the hospital!


After that group got a little time to settle in, it was time to get to work. We headed over to the hospital for a few hours to get ourselves oriented and organized for the week. During clinic last week, we had many more surgical cases than we had time for that week, so we had designated them for this week. Drs. Lieberman, Schaffer, Hisey, and Gorlick, Sue, and I went over the cases we had operated on last week, to get everyone caught up. Then we started talking through the list of additional surgical cases that we had not gotten to last week. The list is pretty long—we joked last week that by the time Team 2 got here we would have their schedule filled already! We decided on a few cases that we wanted to operate on for sure and got them put on the schedule. For the other cases, we would need to take another look at their scans before we put them on the schedule, which would be done tonight at the hotel. Then our little group went to round on post-operative patients and see a few in-patients that were to be operated on this week. The rest of the team organized our lounge area and storage closet with more equipment that was brought with this team and got all of the equipment ready that we would need for our scheduled cases tomorrow.



Drs. Lieberman, Hisey, and Schaffer looking at the scans for one

of our surgical candidates outside of the emergency room,

where we had just stopped to see some patients.


After staying at the hospital a few hours, we headed back to the hotel to rest before heading out for dinner. We decided to treat ourselves to dinner away from the hotel, since we might be spending long days at the hospital again this week. We ate at the Igongo Hotel a little ways down the road from us, and it was phenomenal! We ate our share of their amazing barbeque meats and had some fun playing Heads Up at the table while we waited for our food—though Dr. Lieberman sneakily skipped his turn. It was awesome seeing how well this team has bonded over the years and I am excited to see it all in action this week in clinic and surgery!

One of my favorite things from this weekend was starting “Lessons of the Day,” something the team has done in the past but that we did not do last week (largely because we did not eat dinner very many times!). Dr. Lieberman said his lesson for the day was on the importance of always pushing yourself to learn more and how that helps you to grow as both a physician and as a person. I loved that lesson and am so excited to learn more this week and into my career as a physician.

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