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Surgical Outreach Team Helps Patients in Myanmar

  • June 17, 2013

“As this was our first trip to this small rural hospital, the decision was made to provide surgical care but not to burden local physicians with extended post-operative recovery cases.”Dr. David ReedA surgical outreach team, outfitted with medicines donated by AmeriCaresMedical Outreach Program. travelled to Myanmar in January, 2013, to perform surgical procedures on patients in need.The team included Dr. David Reed of Stamford Hospital in Connecticut, and a group of medical professionals from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York. Five surgeons, three surgical residents, four nurses, and one pathologist, carried with them into Myanmar all the medicine and surgical equipment they needed, including a donation of antibiotics, anesthetics, and NSAIDs from AmeriCares.In 5 days on site, the team worked with local doctors and nurses to screen 115 patients in clinic, conduct 65 surgeries, and perform 11 biopsies.“The team performed operations that had a short recovery period with a small risk of post-operative complications,” explained Dr. Reed. “As this was our first trip to this small rural hospital, the decision was made to provide surgical care but not to burden local physicians with extended post-operative recovery cases.”Following the surgical work, Dr. Reed’s group spent several days at Mandalay General Hospital, the regional referral hospital, giving a series of lectures and demonstrations to the attending surgeons and surgical residents. Using donated laparoscopic equipment provided by Dr. Reed, members of the team presented lectures on safety, hands-on instruction in safe laparoscopy, hernia repair, and ultrasonic-guided breast biopsy. Two laparoscopic simulation trainers were also donated for advanced resident and attending skills development.At a medical seminar given for AmeriCares staff, Dr. Reed credited the success of the Myanmar trip to the fact that surgeons stayed within their specialties and did not perform complex surgeries that would involve long-term follow-up and/or possible post-operative complications. During the organizational phase of the trip the group early on recognized that the purpose of a medical outreach trip is to provide high quality service for patients in need, and not to test the advanced skills of the physicians.Though the trip was made up of practitioners from different hospitals, the team is already planning a return trip in 2014 to help more people in Myanmar. They also plan to increase the collaboration with the Mandalay General Hospital/ University of Mandalay School of Medicine to further build the skills of the local surgical community and enhance the team’s effect on patients in need.Since 1995, AmeriCares has delivered significant ongoing medical assistance to Myanmar through the Medical Outreach Program. The program donates medical products to qualified U.S. health care professionals who are traveling overseas to provide charitable medical care. Learn more here.Donate Now