Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Mission 2024 – Daily Updates: Day 1-3

Day 1:

After months of meticulous planning and packing, the day had finally arrived for our team to head to Uganda. Part of our team, including spine surgeons Dr. Isador Lieberman, Dr. Michael Hisey, spine fellow Dr. Kalin Fisher, and general surgeon/research associate Dr. Stanley Kisinde from Texas Back Institute Research Foundation, departed from DFW on a flight to Doha, Qatar. Accompanying them were scrub techs Areli Parales and Sherri Lacivita, nurses Brit Prescott and Marlene Ortega, equipment tech Rob Davis, gait lab tech Bethany Wilson, and undergraduate Jacob Bazbaz (myself).

After a 15-hour flight, we arrived at Doha Hamad International Airport. Exhausted and jet-lagged we stopped to see the airport’s attractions, such as the giant golden teddy bear before heading to the hotel.

Day 2:

After a brief rest at the Qatar airport hotel, we stopped for coffee and made our way to the airport terminal. Unfortunately, due to extreme heat in Qatar (110 degrees), our flight was delayed.  While waiting, we visited a park within the airport called the Orchard.

Once we landed in Entebbe, our team cleared customs, collected our medical supplies, and boarded a bus to Kampala. On the bus we had our first glimpse of Uganda’s vibrant colors, nature, and bustling traffic. We learned about Boda Bodas (motorbikes commonly used for transportation).

After arriving at our hotel, we unpacked, and started planning, for our first visit to the hospital. We are excited to see who this trip brings and how we can help them.


Day 3:

We had some free time in the morning before our first day in the hospital. We discussed our plans over breakfast. Our tasks included grocery shopping for basic supplies, exchanging US dollars for Ugandan shillings, setting up internet hotspots for the hospital, and finding access to a gym and pool. We split into two teams, to divide and conquer. Afterwards, we gathered our supplies, loaded the bus, and headed to the hospital. There, we unboxed and organized surgical supplies, working efficiently as a team. Dr. Lieberman, Dr. Hisey, Dr. Fisher, Dr. Kisinde, and I then went to the spine ward for patient rounds.

Entering the spine ward was overwhelming, with many patients seeking care. We assessed each patient, taking notes, analyzing scans, and creating a list of those who were surgical candidates for OR day the next day. By the end of the round, we had seen about 25 patients and planned surgeries for five.

With our plan in place, we returned to the hotel for dinner and rest, excited and ready for the challenges of the coming days.

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