IEP Medical Mission in Namibia: First Day of Surgery

We always expect a bit of chaos on the first day of surgery as everyone gets their bearings in a new place with new people.

Dr. Helena, our main liaison, has worked incredibly hard to make sure everyone at the hospital was prepared for our arrival. This time, everyone dove right into the work and our first day of surgery went very smoothly.

The Windhoek Central Hospital facilities are much more modern than those we used at Katatura in 2016. The nursing staff was well-prepared and has been an important part of our team.

We completed seven cases on Tuesday, six children and one adult:

  1. 2-year-old girl – Achilles tendon lengthening
  2. 17-year-old girl – talar navicular + CC fusion and STJ
  3. 8-year-old boy – Achilles tendon lengthening
  4. 5-year-old boy – Achilles tendon lengthening, wedge, and tendon transfer
  5. 12-year-old girl – calcaneal osteotomy, plantar fascia release, and tendon transfer\
  6. 11-year-old boy – Achilles tendon lengthening
  7. 18-year-old man – open shoulder repair for recurrent dislocation
We try to treat children soonest because the experience is usually most frightening for them. The longer they wait between screening and actual surgery can cause more stress. We originally planned to do nine cases but shifted two to Wednesday because of scheduling with the anesthesiologists.

Three of Tuesday’s patients were clubfoot patients. The earlier in life patients can receive treatment, the better the outcomes. The woman who runs the clubfoot clinic in Windhoek brought several patients in for screening on Monday, so we’ve been able to include several of them in the schedule.

We ran two operating rooms with the surgeons taking turns leading and assisting on cases. Some of the doctors have worked together on previous missions or back home, while others are pairing up for the first time. It’s interesting to hear them discuss different approaches to solve the cases, then work together to treat the patients.

More tomorrow from our home base in Theaters 3 and 4!