Dec 08, 2008 News
Children with orthopaedic problems, particularly those with ‘club foot,’ will be able to receive corrective medical attention from a team of United States based doctors, who since yesterday have been engaged in examining such cases at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
The team arrived in Guyana yesterday, and according to coordinator of the mission, Dr John Michell, the primary goal of the trip is to provide orthopaedic surgery to children with low extremity deformities.
And several young patients accompanied by their parents were yesterday awaiting the attention of the team of medical experts headed by Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Claude Scott.
Dr Michell is a General Surgery and Trauma Surgeon. Other members of the team include his brother, Dr Harrison Michell, Emergency Medicine Physician Collie Oudkerk, Foot and Ankle Surgeon Brian Makower, doctors Lee Zukerman and Elan Goldwyn, Nursing Student Alliyah Powell and Medical Student Insal Ally.
At least four members of the team, including the Michell brothers, are Guyanese.
Three other members of the team, Operating Room Nurses Debra Anthony, Lorianne Smith and Carol Turner, are expected to join the team tomorrow.
Most of the cases anticipated, according to Dr Michell, are ‘club foot.’ He said that while the true cause of the problem is not known, it is thought to be due to a decrease in the amount of fluid in the uterus during conception that prevents the extremities from being normal.
The team, which comprises some 10 medical professionals, is drawn from a number of hospitals in the US.
Dr Michell disclosed that the team was formulated in 2005 and has been coming to Guyana on a yearly basis since 2006. He added that this is the team’s third trip to Guyana.
The medical mission, Dr Michell explained, had its genesis some years ago through an organisation called Health and Education Relief for Guyana.
He noted that Dr Oudkerk was one of the founding members of that organisation.
“They have been coming to Guyana from the year 2000, mainly doing medical mission work, mainly in Region 10. After the flood in 2005, myself, brother and several other physicians became involved in assisting with the flood relief.”
It was during the course of that venture, Dr Michell noted, that a child with club foot from the Region 10 area was detected. This set the current project in motion.
He noted, too, that it was deduced that it would be more cost effective for the operations to be done right here in Guyana.
Team members have since been collaborating with officials at the GPHC.
And according to Dr Michell, the programme has been maintained over the years through fundraising activities. He revealed that, over the past two years, corrective surgeries have been done on some 35 children with low extremity problems.
“Last year, we also did surgery on some children who had deformities of their hands, as well as some plastic surgeries and adult orthopaedic surgeries.”
And according to Dr Michell, the primary goal of the current trip is to again mainly address the problem of ‘club foot’.
“We have seen several children with that condition, and we have operated on several of them, and we are back to address this problem again.”
The team of doctors will be at the GPHC for a week, and will commence operations from today through Thursday.
However, a clinic will be held on Wednesday to examine some cases. So far, a total of 22 children have been scheduled for surgery.
However, Dr Michell noted that children who are referred to them will be added to the list as far as possible.
Among the children to be operated on is 13-year-old Herbert Samuels, who was accompanied to the hospital by his mother, Lorna Samuels.
Those who are scheduled for surgery this week were examined yesterday by the medical experts. The team will also be examining some children who were treated by the local GPHC doctors under the guidance of Dr Scott.
“We are evaluating those children to see how well they are doing, and adding any additional treatment that they would require to get them to the point where they could walk,” the doctor related.
Most members of the team are expected to leave by Friday.
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