Medical Mission in Vietnam: Day 4 Surgeries

A group of surgeons around an operating table watching as Drs. Nyska and Palmanovich explain their techniques.

We had two return patients on Friday, both with post-polio complications. One was a 39-year-old man who contracted polio at three years old. The other was a 54-year-old woman who contracted it at seven. Unlike many viruses, polio can cause life-long challenges. Many survivors develop disabilities and symptoms decades after the initial illness.

Both patients had foot deformities that made walking difficult and painful. Our team initially treated them in 2020 when we repaired one foot on each patient. During this year's examination, it was apparent which foot had been repaired as their gait now favored only the untreated limb. Both expressed their happiness with the results of the initial procedure and looked forward to the second repair this week.
Smiling man sitting on gurney while medical mission teams prepares him for surgery.
I can't imagine the joy they must feel as they look forward to the near future when they can walk with minimal limp and pain — something they likely haven't experienced since childhood.

We completed five cases on Friday:
  • 28-year-old female: bilateral soft-tissue procedures to address muscle contracture 
  • 39-year-old male: soft-tissue and bony procedures to address post-polio complications; return patient
  • 49-year-old male: bony procedure, including removal of bone damaged in a car accident in 2003
  • 54-year-old female: soft-tissue and bony procedures to address post-polio complications; return patient
  • 55-year-old male: bony procedure to revise surgery done in 2022 at another hospital
Earlier in my life, my feet were an integral part of my livelihood as a professional runner. I take for granted the ease with which I walk each day. My experience as part of IEP in Can Tho has given me an even greater perspective on the benefits I've had with easy access to advanced orthopedic and medical care.

—Dan Buntman
Man wearing scrubs, cap, and mask sitting at table working on a laptop.
Dan, probably writing this post.