Honduras: Day 2

Source: Blog Post

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” — Mark Twain Innocents Abroad

With Mark Twain’s words ringing in our heads, we arrived in Honduras, and today we are ready and excited for our first operative day.  Today is a busy day – we have 14 cases (6 peds and 8 adults) scheduled!  Word of our arrival has already spread like wildfire and several new patients have arrived to be evaluated with the hopes of finding a spot on our already jam-packed OR schedule.

The Ruth Paz staff is amazing and we hit the ground running without delay.  There is a strong commitment to providing the highest level of care for our patients.  After our clinic day, we have all come to realize the importance of functional hands to the Honduran people.  Mary Ann Paz, the current president of the Ruth Paz Foundation, daughter of Ruth Paz (the founder of the Ruth Paz Hospital where we see and treat patients), says, “Hands are God’s instruments.”  Nothing is more important to the Honduran people than their hands, because the vast majority of jobs in Honduras are manual in nature and without functioning hands our patients cannot work.

We have divided our rooms into peds and adults.  In the adult room today the cases range from a simple carpal tunnel release, to an acute ulnar nerve reconstruction with sural nerve cable grafts and flexor tendon repairs.

Peds today is a similar range – congenital trigger thumb, a one bone forearm and tendon transfers for radial nerve palsy.  Wilmer is a 12-year-old boy who had a right type III supracondylar fracture 2 years ago.

He was treated locally with closed reduction and percutaneous pinning, but had a radial nerve palsy that never recovered.

He and his father came to the clinic yesterday hoping that the THP team had a solution and we were excited to schedule him for radial nerve tendon transfers - a straightforward operation with great outcomes that we know will change Wilmer’s life!  His surgery went well without complications.

The THP team has truly come together the past three days.  Through our commitment to helping others we have gone from strangers to lifelong friends!

Today everyone played a vital role in our success!  We had a large number of regional blocks, which enabled us to do surgery on a number of patients who would have been high-risk for general anesthesia.  Many patients had great pain relief afterwards.  Oscar, just 13 years old, had a block for his both bone forearm ORIF and was awake the whole time.

The team is definitely excited for Tuesday’s 12 cases!