The Karsog Mission
It was no small feat to arrive at our final destination, Karsog, a picturesque village in the lap of the Himalayas in India. It involved an international flight to Delhi, followed by another short flight to the city of Chandigarh, then 9 hours of driving up the mountainside with harrowing hairpin turns that had volunteers falling out of their seats and regurgitating their lunches. The roads often became one lane and unpaved, and we had the pleasure of sharing them with commercial truck drivers seemingly with death wishes.
Along with the remoteness of the location came significant challenges that had to be addressed, such as the lack of adequate equipment and supplies and issues of safety. What can be done when there are no side rails on the beds or no regulators on the oxygen tanks? No surgical retractors? No problem. There was definitely a lot of gerryrigging and MacGuyvering going on, that’s for certain! The highly skilled team of medical professionals handled all these challenges with aplomb.
Had I known of all these difficulties beforehand, would I have still gone on the mission? The answer is a resounding “Yes”! I consider it a huge a privilege to be able to work with such a dedicated, compassionate, and generous group of people.The life lessons they have taught me are immeasurable.And what a profound and humbling feeling to know that I was part of a team that was able to respond to the needs of this special group of people.
The Karsog mission was memorable not only for it’s scenic location of majestic mountains and terraced plains, but for also for the people we served. The hospitals rooms were the most colorful I had ever seen with patients and family members in bright colored garments and even brighter smiles. Their blankets were vivid hues of red, yellow, and orange. More impressive was the graciousness and kindness of these vibrant people and their beautiful traditions and customs.
This Karsog mission has been an unforgettable one. Thank you Surgical Volunteers International for the priceless gift.
Julie Nguyen, RNDate December 1, 2016
Recovery room nurse
Trip Report : Vietnam Cho Ray Hospital Burn Center
My Vietnam trip was booked simply on the whim of knowing that I wanted to use the skills and knowledge I have obtained in my training to help children and adults across the world. The SVI trip indeed provided that and so much more. Having never been to Southeast Asia, I had no idea what to expect.
At Cho Ray Hospital the staff, the patients and their family members were easily some of the most appreciative individuals I have come across in my career. Defects and wounds ranged from congenital cutaneous lesions to burn contractures of any and every joint. This provided a unique learning environment for a someone in my position.
Ho Chi Min City was full of beautiful sites beginning in the early morning hours with delicious food at every street corner, market squares full of goods for bargain and an exciting nightlife. The SVI group was filled with amazing individuals who worked well together as a team.
I have taken with me, new knowledge on plastic surgical planning and operative technique, the taste of a country’s rich culture and historical influence, discovered new friends from all parts of the world, and felt the sincere appreciation of children and adults in dire need. Truly a rewarding experience. I would like to thank SVI for making all the above possible.
Faryan JalalabadiDate April 8, 2016
Plastic Surgery Resident Physician
Baylor College of Medicine
Baptist Haiti Mission, Hospital Fermathe
Dates: February 27th thru March 7th Summery: The Mission to Haiti was accomplished in partnership with Smile Train. Smile Train provided for the trip planning to include locating the hospital, patients and hotel. All arrangements for this was done in cooperation with the Smile Train coordinator. Surgical Volunteers International was responsible for all of the medical volunteers and performed all of the surgical procedures. SVI had a advance team that arrived on February 26th to screen patients and prepare for one surgical case on Saturday. The rest of the team arrived on Friday February 27th. Screening was performed on over 125 patients of whom 70 were scheduled for surgery. During the week we performed a total of 70 surgical procedures. Of these 67 were Smile train procedures. In addition to the 70 surgical procedures we provided dental care to over 60 patients in the hospital dental clinic. We also had a pediatric clinic at the school in Citi Solei. In 5 days of clinics our pediatricians provided care and medications to about 150 patients. All of this care was provided without charge to the patient. Go to www.anthonykaren.com for photos of our trip.Date June 11, 2015
Michael Soto,14 year old boy from Guatemala City
No child should ever be forced to choose between mutilation of their ears and severance of their finger. But on Jan 24th, 2007, Michael Soto, an outgoing, 14 year old boy from Guatemala City, Guatemala, was kidnapped and given the choice of whether his ears or fingers would demonstrate the seriousness of US$3million ransom requested by the kidnappers. Immediately his life and the lives of his family members were transformed. Only after tough negotiations and mutilation of both ears did the kidnappers agree to reduce the ransom to US$60,000 and release Michael. Traumatized by the events and without his earlobes, Michael retreated to his room, shunned his usual activities, and avoided school for fear of being mocked by his classmates. To cope, he grew his hair long and covered the sides of his head to hide the scars and missing ear lobes Four months after the kidnapping, Michael’s story was brought to the attention of Dr. Larry Hollier, a plastic surgeon from Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and Director of Surgeon Volunteer International, while on a cleft-lip and palate mission trip to Guatemala. Using the financial resources available to the organization, Dr. Hollier arranged for Michael to travel to the United States and have his ears reconstructed using prosthetic material. This required a two staged approach. In the first phase, a team of surgeons, consisting of Dr. Hollier and Dr. Joseph Edmonds, an ear-nose-throat surgeon from Houston, surgically implanted magnetic pins into Michael’s skull. After healing, Michael was again flown back to the United States and prosthetic ears were molded in the form of his father’s by Allison Vest, an Anaplastologist of Medical Art Prosthetics in Dallas. Michael was then able to return to Guatemala with no further procedures required. This effort in its entirety was fully funded by Surgical Volunteers International and Dr. Hollier at no cost to Michael and his family. While the traumatic events will never be forgotten, a new chapter has begun in the Sotos’ lives and in it Michael is now happy, active and doing well in school. Today he no longer wears his hair long and instead fashionably styles it in a way that exposes his new ears. Please follow the Link www.click2houston.com/video/1826370/index.htmlDate June 11, 2015
Trip Report: Binh Duong, Vietnam January 2, 2008
On January 2, 2008 17 medical volunteers departed for Binh Duong,Vietnam on Friday afternoon. On Saturday the team spent the day on either group tours or shopping. After two nights in Ho Chi Minh City we departed for the hospital in Binh Duong. We arrived at 9 am and were greeted by over 50 patients desiring to have surgical treatment. We were hosted by the staff of Binh Duong General Hosp The team consisted of volunteers from Houston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Cairo Egypt. As on all trips we had surgeons, anesthesia providers, operating room nurses, PACU nurses, pediatrician, medical records and Bio-medical engineer. A total of 38 patients received free surgical care during the week. Cases consisted of cleft lip, cleft palate, burn scar reconstruction, and hand cases. . The local surgeons and anesthesia team assisted us and there was a collaborative effort with education and hands on teaching involved with each surgical case. All the patients did well with no surgical complications or incidents reported.Date June 11, 2015