GUATEMALA: DAY FIVE

Source: Blog Post

Everyone on the team began Day 5 with serious ambition! The group arrived to the Moore Pediatric Center early and began daily rounds.  What unbelievably happy children! Their pain was controlled extremely well without much, if any, narcotic medicine; what a contrast to common practice in the United States and Canada!

The surgical team in Room 1 began the day with an 11-month-old patient who had sustained an obstetric brachial plexus injury resulting in weakness that had not recovered. Spinal accessory to suprascapular nerve, triceps branch to axillary nerve, and Oberlin transfers were indicated and successfully completed along with an anterior glenohumeral release.

Room 2 started with a valgus distal humerus osteotomy for a supracondylar humerus fracture treated nonoperatively that had fallen into varus and extension and Room 3 started with a thumb polydactyly excision.

All in all, 10 cases were completed and the list included some complex patients:

  • Latissimus and teres major tendon transfers for obstetric brachial plexus injury
  • One-bone forearm with flexor digitorum superficialis transfer to wrist extensors for partially recovered complete brachial plexus injury
  • Thumb metacarpophalangeal joint chondrodesis with opponensplasty
  • Syndactyly release with index finger osteotomy
  • Hand burn contracture release with full thickness skin grafting (x2)
  • Revision syndactyly release with full thickness skin grafting

The therapists were tasked with instructing the hand therapists and students of Guatemala on quite a few topics. Two therapists went to the Instituto Guatemalteco de Seguridad Social (IGSS) while two other therapists went to a hotel downtown to lead a lecture and splinting lab on “Extensor Tendons and Relative Motion.” In the afternoon, two additional therapists taught a lecture on the “Anatomy and Pathology of the Peripheral Nerve.” Education of the local healthcare providers has been a pillar of the Guatemala Healing Hands Foundation since its inception in order to leave the community of Guatemala more self-sufficient after each visit.

The community service arm of the group was spending its second day in Chicoy Alto, helping to develop the road down to the school that our group had funded and help construct over the past few years. Increasing access to the school allows for children to more easily attend this school even past 6th grade, the last compulsory level of education in Guatemala.

The day ended with a group dancing class and buffet of delicious Guatemalan Food. It was wonderful to relax after a long day and after all of the fun, we were refreshed and ready to start all over again tomorrow.