Global Health OB/GYN Surgery Program
For the past 18 years, WCHN has travelled to the Hospital San Pedro Hermano in Catacamas, a city of roughly 125,000 in central Honduras. A variety of medical brigades are hosted throughout the year by the Archdiocese of nearby Juticalpa in an effort to bring surgical and medical care to this impoverished and underserved area of the country. The WCHN Gynecology Brigade typically consists of two surgeons, an anesthesiologist, a Danbury Hospital Ob/Gyn resident and several nurses.
WCHN tries to be as surgically self-sufficient as possible, bringing anesthetic drugs, pain medications, antibiotics, suture material, catheters, surgical drapes and instruments. At the beginning of the week, part of the team triages as many as 75 patients in order to identify those who would be appropriate for surgery. The rest of the team sorts the supplies and readies two operating rooms for surgery, which begins almost immediately. Over the course of the week, the WCHN brigade typically performs 25 - 45 surgeries. The surgeries range from simple benign cases such as hysterectomies for fibroids and removal of ovarian cysts, to complex radical surgeries for gynecologic cancer or repairs of obstetric fistulas.
WCHN’s program is an integral part of the Global Health educational experience for the Danbury Hospital Ob/Gyn residents. Each year a senior resident is chosen to travel with the team as an indispensable member. Residents describe the experience as intense, exhausting, and exhilarating, sentiments common to the whole team.
The residents have an opportunity to perform a large volume of surgery in a short period of time. More importantly, they engage, often for the first time, in the unique joy of interacting with and materially improving the lives of women who live very differently, an experience which is often life-changing. To the WCHN brigade, this experience is the highlight of the year and the best part of the profession.
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