“Purest Surgical Experience of My Life”

Thanks to the generous support of the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association, Dr. Eugene Cone had an outstanding experience in Bhopal, India, where he worked with Jeev Sewa Sansthan (JSS) in December 2018.

Dr. Cone shares his experience:

“In December of 2018 I travelled with Dr. Gopal Badlani and Dr. Dima Raskolnikov to Bhopal, India to participate in the 93rd “Mega Free Urology Camp” sponsored by Jeev Sewa Sansthan (JSS). My time in Bhopal was both challenging and inspiring, and I returned to the US with a renewed sense of purpose and passion for the work we do.

“Jeev Sewa Sansthan (JSS) is a philanthropic Bhopali organization that provides education and healthcare opportunities to the area’s impoverished. Since 1994, the organization has sponsored urology camps that take place over a period of 5-7 days at a local eye hospital. Bringing together surgical staff, residents, and attendings from all over the world (including Dr. Badlani and other IVUmed volunteers) these camps offer completely free care to patients regardless of background or religion.

“The camps, at this point, are a well-oiled machine. The on-site clinics hum with a steady stream of patients undergoing pre-operative evaluation and treatment of non-operative problems. The three ORs have a throughput of 20-30 patients per day, decreasing turnover time almost to zero with all cases performed under spinal anesthesia and cases staggered between the two beds in each room. The post-operative ward (a large space, roughly the size of a gymnasium) is filled with patients in various states of convalescence, being tended to by family members and volunteers. The deliverance of such high quality care in such logistically challenging circumstances is truly impressive.

“I spent the vast majority of my time operating, with a heavy mix of TURPs, DVIUs, PNLs, and occasional open cases for bladder stone removal or circumcisions. Although the cases were familiar, I found myself continually challenged to do more, faster, with less. All equipment was reused (wires, dilators, resection loops/buttons, scopes, etc. were sterilized in an autoclave or in basins of antiseptic between cases), all scopes were rigid (the concept of a disposable flexible ureteroscope felt embarrassingly lavish), and catheter selection was limited. The hardest thing to get used to was operating in flip-flops (a mandatory aspect of these ORs), especially for longer, bloodier TURPs. Nonetheless, I never felt as though we were compromising on the quality of care, and the team spirit of the camp was contagious.

“When I reflect on my time in Bhopal, it shines as one of the purest surgical experiences of my life. There were no concerns about billing, compliance with documentation, or insurance coverage. Operations were performed without regard to anything other than medical indication, and the gratitude that each patient and their family members expressed will stay with me forever. I am now considering how to incorporate international volunteerism into my future practice in a way I never previously have, and will be forever grateful to IVUmed, its donors, and my mentors in Bhopal for an eye-opening experience.”

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