POP Happenings Blog
POP will once again be blogging this year during our mission trip which will take place July 8th-16th 2017. Please join us on our journey and see your donations in action!
Thank you for your support!
The Mission Team
- 10 free successful surgeries for children by our team. This time two cases were scoliosis and the others were a variety of orthopedic problems ranging from trauma to several different deformities. This marks the first mission focused on a variety of orthopedic problems, not just scoliosis. All patients did well.
- Two additional nurses were trained in postoperative care of the scoliosis patient. They received a certificate and have been given the task to pass on there knowledge to 2 additional nurses so that there could be continuity.
- Multiple POP team members participated in painting the walls of one of the rooms in the orthopedic ward. It was a true transformation.
- We visited our beloved Lisbeth Garcia in her home. Lisbeth has been thriving since her surgery in St. Louis. She is working on perfecting her English so that she can one day come to the United States to study. She wants to be a pediatrician!
- We also visited Yonalfrin Diaz in his home. He the next patient coming to St. Louis for corrective surgery for his severe scoliosis. He has a condition called Neurofibromatosis I. It always amazes us to see how these patients live day to day.
- We also visited Omar, a child we cerebral palsy that we have been sponsoring for the last 2 years. They live in a remote area in the mountains. The mom cooked dinner for all of our team in appreciation!
- Our President, Dr. Madelyn Stazzone gave a lecture about POP to over 200 nurses at the Universidad Nacional Evangélica.
- As always, each of our patients received a stuffed Teddy bear wearing a POP logo t-shirt.
Our challenges for the week:
- The operating rooms are still being renovated and the hospital is running on just two rooms. The director of the (Hospital) graciously granted us one room during the week of the mission. Thank you Dr. Rosa Morel!
- Due to the heavy rains in October and November, there had been flooding all through the island. In addition, the roofs were leaking throughout the hospital. The original room that was going to be used for as an ICU for our more complex patients had to be switched because of a leak. We had some leaking in the recovery area for our less complex children as well but it was contained.
Below are a few images of our trip:
-7 free successful surgeries for children by our team!(6 scoliosis, 1 spine trauma)
-4 physician lectures, 4 nursing lectures and 2 patient rooms and cast room decorated.
-We all worked very hard and in the end we found we were even more efficient than we have ever been.
-We have a very dedicated team of people many who return each year to volunteer for a week to help children who would never have the opportunity for surgery if we didn’t operate.
The POP team is lead by Dr. Mady Stazzone who has lead our group on 5 successful medical missions.
Our challenges for the week:
-Having access to only 1 operating room versus 2
-Working through and around renovations with limited supplies
-An c-arm machine stopped working that we used in the OR
-Our shipment with medical supplies for the hospital was not delivered during our medical mission
-We worked during a 3-day physician and nurse strike
Thank you to Dr. Migeul Luna and Iohan Fernandez our Dominican surgeons for working along side of us and for the ladies of the Volunteer Group for Jesus for the Children for their support each year. We could not be successful if they weren’t dedicated to helping us in their hospital.
Below are a few images that summarize our wonderful time working with the staff at the Hospital De NiÑo Arturo Grullón in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Friday, March 11th Summary:
As things wind down, we reflect on some of what we have accomplished, but our energy and momentum don’t falter. It’s another full day. Yesterday we treated 2 patients, Abigail and Nikaury. Today, we treat our final scoliosis patient of the trip, Cristal. We will wrap up this mission’s educational programming with 2 amazing talks and will complete the hospital renovations.
Our final day of the workweek begins like every other, with an excellent lecture by one of POP’s medical team. Here Dr. Enrico Stazzone, POP co-founder, VP and lead surgeon delivers a talk on Neuromuscular Scoliosis to the residents of the Children’s Hospital in Santiago.
Here the POP medical team regroups to discuss the patients, how they’re recovering, and discuss medication inventory. (Left to Right, ICU nurse Beth Seebeck, ICU doc Phil Oren, MD, Dr. Madelyn Stazzone, and ICU nurse Jennifer Felber.)
Abigail’s mom visits her during recovery. A moving moment of the love these families have. Parents don’t leave the hospital at all.
Nikaury rests comfortably. Her surgery yesterday was a huge success!
ICU Nurse, and 5-time POP mission participant, Beth Seebeck delivers a lecture on post-operative patient care, including physical therapy and pain management. Beth is passionate about what she does. POP doctors attend this lecture to reiterate the importance of the nursing team and the value they bring to patient care.
Nurses receive stethoscopes from POP thanks to our generous donors.
Decorations for the Orthopedic Recovery Rooms are complete. A patient’s mom helps us move the beds around and encourages our work. We were glad to provide a little color to the room.
After the final scoliosis surgery on Friday, POP doctors find out about a baby so dehydrated that the staff needed help with the IV. POP doctors volunteer to help. Here we see Dr. Phil Oren, Dr. Richard Nigro, and Brian Ho assisting. True collaboration and an unwavering sense of helping others in need.
Speaking of generosity, two moms purchase a gift to say thank you to POP’s team for treating their daughters. They are so incredibly warm and thoughtful.
The POP team has completed the mural and the cast room staff are so grateful. The hospital team asked for our logo to be the focal point of the room. How thoughtful!
We end our mission trip with a team photo outside of the hospital. Our little family! We are sad to leave, but will remember the friendships and memories we made. (Left to right front row: Dr. Madelyn Stazzone, Dr. Miguel Luna, Ann Rosen, Lisa Simani-Oren, Dr. Phil Oren, Jessica Candelaria, Dr. Richard Nigro, Yve Adams, and Brian Ho. Left to right back row: Dave Graff, Dr. Enrico Stazzone, Beth Seebeck, Jennifer Felber, Steve Stamphel, Kelly Williams, and Brian McCarty.)
Thursday, March 10th Live Blog:
It’s only 11:20AM here, but we’ve had some touching moments already. Healing after spine surgery is a mental and physical experience.
Pain is sometimes too much to bear. Back to rest with pain medications and a first walk later. We need to remember he was bed-bound for 2 weeks until we treated him. He’s a brave young man.
We started the day as usual with a very interesting lecture from one of POP’s medical team. Here is Brian McCarty delivering a resident round on the benefits of Neuromonitoring during surgery.
Heading into surgery can be frightening. Jessica, one of POP’s neuromonitoring technologists is bilingual and comforts her minutes before leaving for the OR.
The love of a mother’s hands moments before being wheeled to the OR for scoliosis surgery. This is Abigail. She received one round of scoliosis surgery during POP’s first mission. Today’s surgery will hopefully complete all of the treatment she will need. She’s brave to go through this intensive procedure again.
A girl walks back to her room while her mother looks on with amazement! Melany was tall to begin with, she’s inches taller today.
Moments like these are golden. Smiling comfortably hugging her POP teddy bear, who she generously named “Mady Luna” after POP’s co-founder and Santiago spine surgeon Dr. Miguel Luna.
Another reality check moment. POP’s facility improvement project this mission trip was to renovate the cast room. Here you can see why. The hospital does not have a working cast saw. Patients are being told to soak the casts in water and then return where staff can try to help remove it for them. Here we see a patient on the floor, outside of the cast room (because it’s undergoing renovation) and a friend helps cut the cast off with wire cutters. This leaves much room for infection. We know that our shipment arrived at the port during our visit and will soon be at the hospital. The cast room staff will have both an electric and a backup manual cast saw in the hopes of preventing this in the future.
Mid-day we had a very interesting Nursing lecture by ICU nurse Jennifer Felber on Fluid Balance post-surgery. The local nurses were incredibly engaged and everyone learned a lot from each other.
Burning the mid-night oil, POP staff members head back to the cast room to work on decorations prior to the shipment arriving so the room is ready. Here POP’s co-founder, Dr. Madelyn Stazzone (also a Pediatric Radiologist) and POP’s Director of Marketing, Lisa Simani-Oren (also a nurse) paint the background of our mini-mural. It’s late, but the positive energy of the day and of our patients and friends here give us all the energy we need!
With everyone’s work done for the day, we wait for our mini bus to collect us from the hospital to take us to our home away from home to change for dinner. It’s late, but everyone is hungry.