This is the fourth medical mission facilitated by our organization to Sierra Leone from 2016 to date. This mission was aimed at conducting surgeries at Connaught Hospital which is the main referral hospital in the country and to provide training at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) both located within the City of Freetown. This mission like the others before it, provided surgeries to provide immediate relief to patients at no cost to the medically underserved population of the City and in the process provide hands on training to the hospital healthcare providers. All the surgeries were conducted at the Connaught Hospital and the critical care training at PCMH. The volunteer team was headed by surgeons Dr. Karl Riggle, Dr. Lisa Nelson and Dr. Joseph Holobinko.
The volunteer medical team in collaboration with resident hospital medical staff performed 53 surgeries within 5 operating days. The surgical procedures varied in complexity and met the mission's goal of performing complex cases as well as addressing common cases and those that have a high educational value. The 53 patients who ranged in age from 2 months to 60 years were given vital surgical care, including but not limited to exploratory laparotomy, hernia repairs, hydrocelectomies, closed and open reduction internal fixations and subtotal thyroidectomies. A quarter of the surgical cases were orthopedic in nature and include several complex bone reconstructive surgeries and repairs.
The training component of the mission comprise of hands-on bedside (pre-op, post-op) and operating room instructions and classroom format sessions. This mission saw the initiation of Epidural training in partnership with the Anesthesia Training School at the PCMH and a continuation of the First Aid and BLS/ACLS training. Eight anesthetists were trained on anesthesia techniques, pain management and accessible post-operative healthcare. The training session for First Aid and BLS/ACLS was provided to ten medical professionals. Participants from around the country were present for the training sessions in anesthesia techniques and First Aid training and were provided per diems and reimbursed for transportation cost incurred.