To date, a total of 315 children have received scoliosis surgical correction due to our efforts; 76 of these through our 9 mission trips and more importantly, 309 by the hands of the Dominican surgeons and staff that we have trained. That is the true testament of our success! From the onset, our main goal has been to educate our local colleagues or what we like to call the “teach them to fish mentality.” We started our efforts in the Arturo Grullón Children’s Hospital in Santiago, Dominican Republic 2012. However, due to a renovation process that has resulted in essentially no operating rooms for over 3 years, we have been orchestrating our misssion trips at Hospital Metropolitano de Santiago (HOMS). Despite our accomplishments, there are many more children waiting in line for these surgeries; children who have no hope for surgical correction otherwise. Left untreated, scoliosis can result in compromised heart and lung function. Apart from improving the overall health and quality of life for these children, scoliosis correction allows Dominican children to be accepted again in a society that shuns physical deformity. Surgeries are therefore, life-changing not only physically but also socially and emotionally.
“Thank you for transforming my life.”
-Audrey Cabrera, 15 years old
Mission 2015 patient & law student
An old proverb says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Our primary goal is the education of local doctors and medical staff. Our team has focused not only on one-on-one teaching but on organized, group education as well, establishing the first orthopedic teaching conferences for doctors and nurses at the children’s hospital. Given our success at the children’s hospital in Santiago, we are encouraged to continue our efforts at this facility and build upon the educational foundations we have already established.
~Lead surgeon and VP, Dr. Enrico Stazzone gives a lecture on scoliosis to the Dominican orthopedic surgeons.~
By Western standards, the conditions in the Arturo Grullón Children’s Hospital are best described as going back in time 100 years. Children with fractures and other easily treatable conditions lie in hospital beds for weeks because orthopedic devices and equipment are hard to come by or non-existent. The Pediatric Orthopedic Project is committed to help the struggling facility. During the last four years, we have improved conditions by: establishing and stocking the first orthopedic supply room; installing 24 ceiling fans in the orthopedic inpatient ward; purchasing a sterilizer for the operating rooms and re-decorating and furnishing the OR waiting area. During this year’s mission, several of our members even participated in repairs throughout the hospital.
~19 year old Omar claps with excitement as he receives his first wheelchair courtesy of the orthopedic supply room we established.~
~Ceiling fans in orthopedic ward provide relief for patients & families.~
~Head OR Nurse Francisca learning to use the new sterilizer for the Operating Room donated by POP.~
~Operating Room waiting area before and after decorating contributions by POP.~
POP donated four new sofas and hired a local artist, Yoel Bordas who painted a mural.
The mural is a reflection of what the artist was advised would help put the local families at ease while they wait for their children to undergo surgery. The local population is approximately 80% Christian. POP is a diverse and inclusive non-profit and is a non-denominational/non-religious organization.