Monday, March 5, 2018

Countdown to Namibia: John T. Kao, MD

The IEP team is getting ready for our next mission to Namibia in August. Today's post is from Dr. John Kao, who will be joining IEP for his first mission.
As I begin my 25th year in sports orthopedic surgery -- caring for the weekend warrior as well as the professional athlete -- I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in medicine. I have gained great pleasure in helping others get back to athletic competition or their chosen activities. Most importantly, I appreciate the trust that my patients have had in me and my abilities over the many years.  

Still, as my last child sets off to college and my wife and I ready to become empty nesters, I started growing concerned about the routine nature of my practice. So, when Dr. Bruce Lehnert approached me regarding an opportunity to participate with the International Extremity Project, I accepted. Looking forward to this summer, I feel a renewed excitement and energy as I learn more about this great organization and its cause.  

Now, as I prepare to embark on my first medical mission, I look forward to helping others in the fundamental manner that I originally led me to choose a career in medicine over 35 years ago.  I truly appreciate any support that you may have to offer, and I look forward to sharing my great experiences with all of you when I get back!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Up Next, Namibia!

Barely home a month and we're getting ready for our next trip! A smaller group of us will be heading back to Windhoek, Namibia in August for our second full mission. While there, the team will perform surgeries as well as lecture at the University of Namibia to help train the new generation of surgeons to treat lower-extremity deformities.

I'm always honored to have Drs. Lehnert and Spanko invite me to participate -- and grateful that I have the opportunity to travel with the team and help make a difference in the communities we visit. I've already applied for my visa and submitted my vacation notice for work.

Stay tuned as we prepare for our journey!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Medical Mission: Thanks to Our Supporters

The International Extremity Project (IEP) team arrived in Can Tho, Vietnam, after over 25 hours of air and bus travel. With 22 boxes of medical supplies and equipment, plus our team of 25 people, it took two buses to get everything and everyone to our final destination!

The IEP team began screening patients for surgery the next morning and started surgeries the day after screening. After multiple surgical days, the team treated 47 surgical patients, most with multiple procedures.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Medical Mission: Communicating with Patients

Jesse Hsiao, RN shares his thoughts after his first mission with the IEP team. 

It’s difficult to name a most memorable moment since many were new learning opportunities, unforgettable, and inspirational. I particularly enjoyed going on rounds with the residents and translators.

Side note: Our teamwork and communication were impeccable. For those of you who watch basketball, it was like the fluidity of all five players clicking — think the current Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs offense at their best. 

During this time, I did post-operative teaching with patients and their families. What I love about this is that I was able to talk to patients and their families. After surgery, there’s still some anxiety, especially with the duration and process of recovery. In particular, all of them were concerned about managing pain, when they could walk again, and when they could return to their routine or in some cases have a dramatically new life.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Medical Mission, Day 5: Final Surgeries

Our final day at the hospital was another busy day in the operating rooms with 14 patients. Outside of the OR, we had to pack up our all supplies for the journey home and visit patients who had surgeries in the days prior.

There's always one particularly memorable case in each mission. Two years ago it was a little girl with tibial agenesis, this year it was a young man with bilateral macrodactyly.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Medical Mission, Day 4: Full Day of Surgery

Because we were in Vietnam for less time than some of our previous missions, it was important that we were very efficient in the operating rooms. Wednesday was our biggest day -- 15 patients.

Our morning was made a bit more challenging with scheduling changes between the two teams. We knew what patients we'd see, but the Vietnamese doctors needed to make changes to the order in which we'd see them. I spent the first part of my morning matching up our patient records with the hospital records to make sure everyone had the information they needed in the operating rooms.

Communication across departments is a challenge in any organization or business. Here we get to add in the challenge of being a team with another country trying to align with the local doctors, anesthesiology teams, and nursing staff. But it always works out.