Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Uganda Spine Surgery Mission Day 9 & 10: ‘Our Final Days’

Dr. Lieberman, Lance and Joseph once again begin the day with a 5:15 am run, on their way out they bumped into the second team led by Dr. Holman. They have just driven in through the night from Entebbe and will be taking over where Team 1 has left off. They ran into Sherri and Dr. Owusu on who were, taking their own morning run around the hotel grounds.

Everyone is in good spirits at breakfast, probably from the afternoon of rest Team 1 had the previous day. Dr. Lieberman and the spine team were scheduled for three surgeries, as was team plastics, aka Dr. Kerner. Two local doctors joined her, Dr. Situdwa, a resident, and Dr.Kwikiriza, who did anesthesia. They were working on a young girl, releasing contractures of her hand and wrist. Their second case was a young man with large keloids covering his neck and ear.

Dr. Lieberman’s three cases of the day went well, despite Skylar’s neuromonitoring equipment getting fried by a power shortage and being out of commission for the rest of the day (luckily this is the last day of surgery, and team 2 brought their own neuromonitoring equipment)

They conclude the last surgical day earlier than the previous days, and after team 2 finishes their day clinic, team 1 headed over to the Agip motel for some well deserved dinner and another laughter evoking game of ‘heads up’.

Tuesday Aug 6:

It’s a bittersweet moment as the team headed into the hospital for their last morning of rounds. Moreen is getting better daily, as she gains more function in her legs. It is looking promising. Sylvia, the first surgery of the previous day is also doing well. Ivan is asleep but doing well after his second surgery to remove the extensive tuberculosis which was destroying his spine. James is doing much better; he is even able to walk himself to the bathroom. With his straighter spine, he indeed seems taller; the team even coaxed a great big smile from him! Kenneth is also recovering well, and seems to have a better hang of his breathing exercises.

With each patient, everyone say their goodbyes, and know they will remember their faces for a long time to come. Everyone on the team hopes their patients will be living their lives to the fullest, and that they will be that much happier.

After they do their rounds, they say goodbye to the staff at the hospital, who have been dedicating so much of their time this week to their patients, learning as much as they could from the teams, in an effort to improve their skills to serve their communities better. As much as the teams had been working all week, the local staff had been the first ones to arrive, and many had left only after we had. The anesthesiologist staff, amongst them Drs. Emmanuel, Joseph and Steven, had all been dedicated to serving their patients all week, along with the anesthesia residents George, Andrew and Sadiq, who had been just as helpful in assisting and learning from the only anesthesiologist of our team, Dr. Lubis. Dr. Marvin Mwesigo had been an integral part of team Sparta, bringing his infectious humor and optimism into the O.R, and teaching everyone a thing or two about resourcefulness.

Saying goodbye to Sister Rose, Prof. Bitariho and Jones, who had been major pillars which held the whole operation together, coordinating and liaising the team with all the patients and ensuring they were all aware of what was going on with the patients’ care. They had indeed been the brains of the operation on the Ugandan side.

They finished packing up at the hospital; with a sigh of relief and a big sense of accomplishment, they officially pass the reigns to team 2, and leave Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, hopefully having left our mark.

Day 8 & 9 blog pic 1

Joseph finalizing the blog



Day 8 & 9 blog pic 2


Stella and mom Mary on their follow up visit with Lieberman

Day 8 & 9 blog pic 3


the team planning surgery

Day 8 & 9 blog pic 4

Final OR day group picture, Lubis, Abou, Gorlick, Owusu, Lieberman, LaCivita, Philips, Barton, 

Day 8 & 9 blog pic 5


Spine Machine group photo, team 1 & 2 at the Agip Hotel restaurant


Day 8 & 9 blog pic 7


Dr. Owusu, “say what !”

Day 8 & 9 blog pic 8

appreciative of Dr. Kerner’s services


Day 8 & 9 blog pic 10

“what time next year”?








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