Honduras: Day 5

Source: Blog Post

Today is our fourth day in the operating room and it’s a big one!  We have 11 cases planned today.  Some are as simple as bilateral pediatric trigger finger releases – an operation that many don’t even think twice about in the States, but is life changing in Honduras.  But, some of the most common injuries we have seen are tendon and nerve lacerations due to machetes.  The machete is the “swiss army knife” of Honduras; it is used at work, used to prepare food and, unfortunately, used in many of the violent acts that define everyday life for the Honduran people. Today we have three machete cases planned.

We eat a quick breakfast at the hotel and then it’s off to the hospital!  We get started right away, and quickly make progress in the pediatric room. One of the patients today, Jose, is a student at the school we visited earlier in the week.  He had a firework explode in his hand and, after washing him out earlier this week, we performed a rotational flap to deepen his webspace today.

The sural nerve harvesting team is busy today – we reconstructed 2 ulnar nerves and 2 median nerves.

One of the unique cases of the day was a primary flexor tendon reconstruction.  Angel had a machete lacerate his middle finger FDP and FDS in zone 2 months ago.  However, he had worked hard to keep his full passive range of motion.  His tendon sheath and pulleys were intact and so we did a primary reconstruction as well as an MABC nerve graft to reconstruct his radial digital nerve.

The longest case of the day is a revision from our last surgery a year ago – an infected nonunion of the humerus.   Today we placed a new cement spacer and a spanning plate from her proximal humerus to her ulna.  It was hard work and took the team 8 hours! But, her radial nerve was working at the end of the case!

Tonight, we had a team tapas dinner.  It was great to end the day with new friends and wind down after a lengthy OR day.

“Some travel to see the difference, others travel to make the difference.”