Day 3: Let the Surgeries Begin

The morning started with a bit of frenzy, but the first day of surgery usually does as we get everything organized in the operating rooms and people get accustomed to working together. Although some members of the medical team have worked together for as many as ten IEP missions, others are working together in the operating room for the first time. 

We initially had one operating room with two tables, but were able to get a second down the hall. The team has worked in a single room before, but it's not ideal -- especially for keeping the patients' stress levels down. Surgery isn't a particularly quiet operation, so to speak.

We had six surgeries scheduled, but picked up a seventh by the end of the day when a patient came into the hospital with a badly broken ankle.

Drs. Nyska, Palmanovich, and Lehnert with Mai Phan,
our "imported" translator from California.
Four of today's scheduled patients were kids.

It's heartening to know that we're helping them, but hard to see them frightened as they come into the operating room. It can be intimidating no matter how old you are. The operating rooms are brightly lit, kept very cool, and filled with all sorts of people in green scrubs and gowns, masks, and caps. Add in that half the people are speaking an unfamiliar language and although you met them a few days ago, they're unrecognizable behind the masks.

The more specific medical details...

Patient 1: Six-year-old girl
  • Multiple enchondromas, or benign tumors, in left leg. She was unable to straighten her left leg, but could walk and run, although stairs and uneven surfaces were challenging. 
  • Procedure: Left distal femur enchondroma curettage, bone grafting, femoral osteotomy with steinman pin fixation
Patient 2: 36-year-old man
  • Ganglion cysts in both ankles that first developed when he was 18.
  • Procedure: Bileateral excision of soft tissue mass of lateral malleolus and styloid process
Patient 3: 11-year-old boy
  • Left foot equinus with cavus deformity; post-polio.
  • Procedure: Cole osteotomy and tendo-achilles lengthening (TAL).
Patient 4: 38-year-old man
  • Right foot equinus with cavus deformity
  • Procedure: Cole osteotomy and TAL. 
Patient 5: 10-year-old girl
  • Left foot equinus
  • Procedure: Left gastroc and PT recession
Patient 6: Six-year-old girl
  • Bilateral equinus, inverted forefoot
  • Procedure: Bilateral gastroc recession and right calcaneal-cuboid fusion