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Wednesday, January 22nd – Hump Day and Something We Rarely See in the US.

It’s Wednesday and Hump Day, so on our drive into Valsad, we of course saw a camel drawing a buggy of sorts taking his driver to some work. We all had to smile at the sight, something we don’t see every day at home! Speaking of things not often seen, Dr Bipin Patel took care of a patient with Leprosy this morning.

We were fortunate that Dr. Patel had worked with this disease in the past and was able to provide care for the patient by debriding lesions on his feet. This patient had to have had this disease for quite some time as there was a great deal of scar tissue on his extremities where prior lesions had been treated. Leprosy is an infectious disease that causes severe, disfiguring skin lesions and nerve damage in the arms and legs. Additionally it causes loss of eyebrows and can cause lesions on the nose of patients. According to the World Health Organization, about 180,000 people worldwide are infected with leprosy, most are in Africa and Asia. Only about 200 people are diagnosed with leprosy in the U.S. every year. Dr. Patel explained that in the U.S. treatment would be a one year course of antibiotics. However it was determined that the best course of treatment for Operation Medical to provide was to debride the lesions enabling the skin to heal.

The day was filled with many more surgeries (including reconstruction of an ear by Dr Dave Leber, using his experience and superb carving skills to create an ear framework from rib cartilage) as all 6 operating tables were occupied from early morning until evening. By the close of the day, the team had completed 39 procedures including Hernias, Hysterectomies, Hydroceles, Thyroidectomies, Thympanoplasties, burn scar revisions and more. Bansari Mandalia, Binita Mandalia, Bonnie Peffer, Barb Mummert, and Sheri Matter, our team in the PACU (post-operative care) worked tirelessly and as always were last to leave after making sure the last surgical patient of the day was stable and able to transfer to their room. Their teamwork and taking turns on the late shift was an outstanding example of working together for the good of all.

As a treat to staff from the Hospital and the Operation Medical team, we were invited to the home of KD Patel for dinner and warm hospitality including a demonstration of traditional Indian dance by a local youth dance team. The evening wrapped up early as we have another big day tomorrow.

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