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Resident Scholar Reflections

Dr. Jessica Casey, MD – Mahuva, India

Through the generous sponsorship provided by the Resident Scholar Alumni, Dr. Jessica Casey traveled to Mahuva, India with mentor Dr. Sakti Das to participate in a free urology camp organized by the local Indian organization Jeev Sewa Sansthan (“Service to the Living”). During the camp, over 130 patients received much-needed urological care.

Reporting on her experience, Dr. Casey stated:

“During my six days in Mahuva at Sadbhavna Trust Hospital, I operated like crazy – running back and forth between the 6 operating beds that filled 2 operating rooms. As I was finishing one case, a patient behind me was getting their spinal anesthesia injected and being prepped by assistants for me to operate on in a few minutes. During those short six days, I participated in 34 operations which ranged from delicate hypospadias work to minimally invasive percutaneous nephrolithotomy to a reconstructive extrophy repair; and this was only a fraction of the work being done while I was there.

“In Mahuva they did not have all of the fancy equipment we have in the states; there was no fancy LigaSure, no argon beam, no laser lithotripsy. They had a scalpel, cautery, suction, a light and a patient who needed surgery. If something is bleeding, quickly put an “artry” (i.e. hemostat) on it and move on. If the suction isn’t turned on, use one of your two laps to stop the bleeding and move on. If they don’t have the needle driver you want, make do with another.

“If I was struggling with a maneuver and blaming everything around me (the lighting, the instruments, the angle, etc), Dr. Das would calmly remind me to focus on my own skills and not blame my surroundings. Dr. Das’s influence made me reflect at my own actions. Often at Northwestern, surgeons complain about not having the right gloves, the right assistant, the best light, etc. in order to make excuses for their own skills. It’s best to just focus at the task at hand, not make excuses, and just get the work done.”

Jessica Casey, MD

Northwestern University

Mahuva, India – November 4-28, 2011

Mentor: Dr. Sakti Das

Sponsored by: The Resident Scholar Alumni

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Resident Scholar Reflections

Emma Ester Bendaña, MD
University of Rochester
Deschapelles, Haiti – November 12-19, 2011
Mentor: Dr. Robert Edelstein

Dr. Bendaña’s service in Haiti was made possible by a generous grant from the Northeastern Section of the AUA. Dr. Emma Ester Bendaña traveled to Deschapelles, Haiti with mentor Dr. Robert Edelstein to collaborate with Haitian hosts in the provision of urological care to patients in need. Dr. Bendaña evaluated over 100 patients and participated in 14 cases during the workshop.

About her experience, Dr. Bendaña stated:

“My trip to Haiti in November of 2011 opened my eyes to another world of urology. Even though I had some experience in traveling abroad to developed and developing nations – it was my first medical trip as a trained urologist. After four years of residency experience in Rochester, New York – I had the ability to analyze and problem solve urological issues and situations. I left as a new person and urologist. Haiti provided me with a setting to develop my skills further as a surgeon and challenge myself to solve problems.

“In Haiti, we had limited equipment and instrument accessories. It became a challenge to provide high level care with a limited set of instruments. As a result, my skills were pushed to their limits and enhanced. There was no room for indiscretion. Accurate histories were needed to appropriately plan for procedures based on our limited equipment and intra-operatively an accurate diagnosis was needed so that only the equipment that was needed was opened. Our goal was to use our limited one-time use instruments to their maximum without waste.

“It was an honor to work with the residents and other attendings in Haiti – and understand their own struggles and challenges as they do their best to provide outstanding care for their patients. In residency it is easy to get lost in the paperwork and mundane nature of the business. I needed an awakening and this trip gave me several opportunities to open my eyes.”
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