Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Mission – DAY 4: July 30 2014; “And so it continues…”

It was a slow start to the day, only in terms of the volume of patients, but the work was just as significant. The team had several lengthy surgeries lined up for the day. Dr. Lieberman and Dr. Owusu’s first patient, Enid, turned out to be a six-hour surgery. They reconstructed her spine, which was destroyed by Tuberculosis. Dr. Scharschmidt and Dr. Fisk also began their first case, a hip arthroplasty for Jovanis.

The hours passed by, morning quickly turning to afternoon as the various teams handled many challenges.

Running back to grab some CT requisitions for Dr. Lieberman, Joseph was met by the mother of Denise, a young girl who they had seen in the wards on the first day. She tearfully described how she thought they would be back to the wards to see her daughter, waiting in vain only to find out that she had missed it. Joseph pulled out his notepad and found Denise’s name and the notes agreed to talk to Dr. Lieberman on her behalf. Dr. Lieberman later looked at her X-Rays and created a treatment plan, agreeing to see Denise the next day with tentative surgery scheduled for the next week. Denise’s mother continuously thanked the team for what a great job the team had been doing and how grateful she was for their presence.

After talking with her, Dr. Lieberman and his team began their last case. Dr. Kerner was working on Nadine, the same burn victim that she had been working on the first day. Some team members helped position Nadine as Dr. Kerner cleaned and dressed her extensive burns. It was an arduous and lengthy process. The take away lesson from this was the importance of stamina in the O.R.

After transporting Nadine back into the ICU, they headed back to Dr. Lieberman’s operating theater, just in time to watch them conclude their last case. Dr. Lieberman and his team had finished an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion while religiously singing in chorus to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”.

Next door, Dr. Scharschmidt’s team also finished up their last patient, after diligently handling some unanticipated events with “old school” tactics. 

Another crisis was averted quickly after retrieving our driver’s lost phone number. The team headed back to the hotel, arriving just after 10 pm; a 14-hour workday.

After concluding the day with another late dinner the team reflected on the lesson in capitalizing on one’s strengths, while importantly learning to recognize one’s limitations.


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