Nuzvid, India, February 2005
Gifford Memorial Hospital
Brinda Thimmappa, MD
3rd Year Plastic Surgery Resident
Loma Linda University Medical Center
Operation Good Samaritan and the Department of Plastic Surgery first visited Gifford Memorial Hospital (GMH) in February of 2004. Since that time, we have made two more visits. A team of resident and attending plastic surgeons in February 2005 performed burn reconstruction, hand surgery, and cleft lip repair. The team was made up of Jaimie Shores and myself. It marked the first time that residents in the general surgery portion of their training were able to participate in an outreach trip. This was in large part due to the commitment of Dr. Mohan Sehdev, who accompanied the two of us. A surgical oncologist, Dr. Sehdev practiced in an Adventist hospital for his entire career. Following retirement, Dr. Sehdev, as he put it, still felt he had a lot of work to do. Through Adventist Health International, he has worked in others areas of need such as Ile Ife, Nigeria.
Nuzvid is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The town and surrounding areas are home to 40,000 people. It is a largely agriculture community, with mango and banana plantations lining the roadways. In addition, industries such as tile and brick manufacturing employ many people.
At the time of our visit, staff physicians at GMH provided care in pediatrics, ophthalmology, and general/trauma surgery. Consulting physicians in orthopedics and obstetrics/gynecology also utilized the facility. Although the government does run a hospital in Nuzvid, GMH is the only provider of emergency services within an hour drive. Basic laboratory, pharmacy, and radiographic services are available. However, any additional workup requires referral to centers 30 kilometers away.
GMH is also home to a nursing school, graduating approximately thirty students per year.
In its mission, Operation Good Samaritan has stressed the importance of education and enabling the communities we visit to provide for themselves and continue the work that has started. Being surgeons and surgeons-in-training, this has come to mean teaching local health-care workers and physicians operative techniques. Being third-year residents--still quite young in our training as surgeons--and with the presence of a trained surgeon at GMH, we were challenged to make a lasting contribution to the community and staff in areas outside of the operating room.
Prior to our arrival, the hospital promoted our visit by distributing fliers throughout town and to village leaders. There were also advertisements in the local papers, television, and blaring regularly from the auto rickshaws. Over a one month period, Jaimie and I completed thirty cases under the mentorship of Dr. Sehdev and Dr. Rao, GMH's own surgeon. Cases included pediatric and adult hernias, thyroidectomies, skin grafts, and parotidectomies. We had prepared ourselves for limited resources, and this was what we found. The electrocautery had been out for repairs for two months; the electricity went out often; the choice of suture or dressing was whatever we were able to bring ourselves. We had not prepared ourselves for the overwhelming support and enthusiasm of the staff for our work. At all levels, the staff and community wanted to create a thriving hospital and school. Dr. Rao had scheduled several cases so that we were able to start operations the day of our arrival. As soon as we reached the wards, nurses appeared at our side to help with translation and dressing changes. Nursing students crowded into overheated rooms to receive anatomy lessons while we operated.[Top] [Other Trip Reports][Nuzvid, India May 05 trip report page 1 | 2 |