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Monday, April 11, 2011

Perú Mission: My First Surgery Operation

I had the opportunity for the first time in my life to watch a surgery.  As a non-medical trained person, a teacher by profession and very scared of anything related to blood I had no intention of ever watching a surgery.  But this changed today after observing Dr. Downey perform a skin graft of an eleven year old boy named Miguel, who had a burn scar on the left arm.  Working with Dr. Downey were anesthesiologist Dr. Vinod Kothapa, nurses Patricia Galdámez and Sandra Nealon.  Dr. Downey is a caring and gentle Doctor with a preponderance of experience.  I came in the operating room (OR) and observed the nurses prep the boy. Miguel was given anesthesia which he resisted as tears flowed down his cheek.  Patricia comforted the boy by whispering that everything would be alright.  In a matter of minutes he was fast asleep.

As Dr. Downey came into the operating room, the patient had already been "prepped" by the nurses.  She quickly injected local anesthesia, area was cleansed and Dr. Downey got to work by releasing the skin of the left arm of the patient by cutting with with the scalpel. By measuring a proportional size based on the burn, she excised part of the skin (graft) from they boy's inguinal area.  I saw the piece of skin (graft) shrink up as soon as it was "peeled" and put on the open sterile mayo stand.  I didn't think it was big enough but as I continued watching I saw the marvel of skin being stretched and stitched on the burned arm of the patient.  The result was impressive. In time, the boy will regain full mobility of the arm which he wasn't able, due to the burn contractures. I left the OR with a great appreciation for what these doctors do, a marvel in itself, and a better confidence of being able to see more surgeries this week. If I do, you will read about it.

Below are two short videos below of both Dr. Horowitz and Dr. Downey in action in the OR. 

Thank you to my wife Patricia for helping me revise and edit this post.

Here's a video of yours truly in action:


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