Thanks to the generous support of the Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association, Dr. Joel Hancock had an memorable experience in Mahuva, Gujarat, India, where he volunteered his time at the annual Mahuva Camp at the Sabdhavna Trust Hospital in February 2019.
Dr. Hancock shares his experience:
“We spent our time at Sadbhavna Trust Hospital in Mahuva, India. This is a small city outside of Bhavnagar in the state of Gujarat. It sits in on the eastern side of the Arabian Sea. We spent our time working at Sadbhavna Trust Hospital, which provides basic surgical care for underserved and underfunded individuals. There is one general surgeon who performs all the basic urologic surgeries. There are also 2 OB-GYN surgeons at the hospital. And there are multiple medical officers who assist with care of the patients peri- and post-operatively.
“We were there for 7 days with 30 hours of travel on either end. The total trip was 10 days. We lived in a small apartment within the hospital near the other medical officers and surgeons (they all live in the hospital). Our meals were provided by the hospital and consisted of strictly vegan options and fresh milk from their cows that were kept on the hospital grounds.
“We operated each day for about 6-8 hours. During that time, we performed 20-30 surgeries. Other urologists from nearby cities in India made the trip to volunteer at the urologic surgical camp. The goal was to provide urologic surgical care to patients in the surrounding area who did not have other immediate options for such care. With the assistance of 4 urologists from India and Dr. Badlani from Wake Forest, we were able to treat many individuals who did not otherwise have access to the urologic care they needed.
“In a single operating room with 4 OR tables, we performed multiple PCNLs, ureteroscopy with pneumatic lithotripsies, TURPs, cystolithalopaxies, cystolithotomies, open pyeloplasties, open ureteral re-implants in pediatrics and adolescent populations, mesh and autologous mid urethral slings, and even a couple laparoscopic nephrectomies. Nearly everything was done under spinal anesthesia. The OR staff was incredibly efficient and very good at their jobs. Nearly all the equipment was reusable and nothing went to waste.
“When we weren’t operating, we were actively engaged in the local culture and customs. Some of our free time included morning yoga and pranayama on the beaches of the Arabian Sea, attending multiple local weddings, a tour of a local lion reserve, and shopping in downtown Mahuva. We were able to visit many families of the surgeons with whom we worked. Everyone was so kind and hospitable. There was never a shortage of food, tea, and good conversation.
“I will always reflect back on my time in India with the fondest of memories. I worked with many people who I would consider to be good friends now. I would love to go back and work at Sadbhavna Trust Hospital to give back to the people who gave me so much.”