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Uganda Spine Surgery Mission – Day 4

Day 4

Dr. Lieberman woke up extra early to lead the entire team in a Pilates class, but only Zoe and Sherri showed up, while the rest of the team were doing the savasana corpse pose in bed. The team did resurrect in time for breakfast before heading to the hospital for a long day of surgeries. When we arrived at the hospital, Drs. Lieberman and Hisey, along with Michael and Zoe, went on morning rounds to check on patients from yesterday’s surgeries. Both patients were doing well despite the ward conditions.

WARD

Dr. Gorlick and Josh made a side trip into town to restock on some supplies for the team. They went to the Nakamut again (African Wal-Mart), and bought enough bottles of water to open a small water park (we’ll call it “Spinal Splash”, and we’re thinking we’ll have a giant waterslide in the shape of a scoliosis spine). The two also exchanged more U.S. dollars into Ugandan Shillings and got a great rate from our favorite money girl Judy, who also happens to have the cutest daughter in the world.

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The trip went without a hitch, that is until they realized in order to return to the bus they had to cross an insanely busy road, full of high speed trucks and Boda Bodas (Ugandan dirt bikes) while carrying giant boxes of water! There are no crosswalks in Uganda, yet locals seem to understand the flow of traffic perfectly, unfortunately our two teammates didn’t. Luckily, with assistance from a couple locals, they were able to navigate the dirt road death trap safely and reunite with the team to replenish their liquid levels.

Back in the operative theatres, the first case was underway with Dr. Hisey. He was operating on a mid-aged female who was involved in a Boda Boda accident and injured her cervical spine. Boda Boda accidents are the most common cause of spinal trauma in Uganda…let that be a lesson to all you kids out there! Don’t ride motorcycles, or at least make sure to wear a helmet and a Kevlar body suit when you do. Dr. Stan (or “Uganda Stan” as we affectionately refer to him), a general surgery resident interested in spine surgery, joined us for the case.

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The surgery went without a hitch! The team awarded Dr. Hisey with the Hisey-man trophy for outstanding all around orthopedic performance. The second case with Drs. Lieberman and Hisey involved a lady with tuberculosis infection of the spine. This required an extensive surgery with spinal reconstruction. Despite the long case, the patient did really well.

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Following our OR day, we set up clinic to see the returning orphanage children as well as new patients. A few operative cases were added from this. Once clinic ended, we went back to the hotel for dinner and bed.

Quote of the Day: “I had an almost quarter life crisis,” Zoe Blumenthal (future OB/GYN in the making) was concerned she would not like her chosen future after hearing all the horridly descriptive details regarding a caesarean section as described by two senior spine surgeons. The quote of the day also leads to the lesson of the day: Zoe confessed she was scared about sitting in on the caesarean section due to the horror stories from other doctors and fellows. However, she didn’t allow fear to hold her back. She stepped into the room and watched over the entire procedure. To her delight she didn’t find it nearly as intimidating or disturbing as described by others. In fact it reinforced her desire to enter the field!

To support the Uganda Spine Surgery Mission visit: http://www.ugandaspinesurgerymission.com

Texas Back Institute