Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Orthopedic Trauma Surgery in Haiti

William Slikker
Orthopedic Fellow at BWH
PGY-6


My international outreach experience in Marabelias, Haiti was quite eye opening. After 8 hours of air and land travel to our hospital site, we immediately went to work seeing patients in the clinic and assisting in urgent operations that were taking place in the OR.  Similar to the U.S., it was not uncommon to encounter several severe femur and tibial fractures from motor vehicle accidents on a daily basis that needed urgent treatment. However, we did encounter more unusual injuries as well, including a machete injury cutting off half of the elbow, enormous masses of the extremities with no previous treatment, and chronic shoulder and hip dislocations which would have otherwise been corrected acutely in the U.S.


During our time in Haiti, our team accomplished more than 25 major orthopedic surgeries and evaluated upwards of 40 patients. However, we realized that although we were effective in completing surgeries, there was no way that a short term trip would have long lasting effects. Therefore, our efforts during the trip were focused on education of the local orthopedic residents and collaboration with the Haitian attending orthopedic surgeons. By fostering friendship and partnership during the trip, we hope to establish a line of communication, which will continue via phone, email, and video after our departure. In addition, we provided both clinical orthopedic books and live surgical videos to begin a library collection for the local residents. 
We are currently beta testing a live, streaming surgical video device, which would provide free, real-time interaction and consultation from Boston to the hospital in Marabelias.

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