Thursday, July 31: Yesterday was another full day of surgeries, with three mid-urethral bladder sling surgeries (TVTs) in a row. It’s nice that the scheduling worked out that way, because it is an ideal way for our Bolivian counterparts to learn the procedure. By the end of the day, Dr. Lara had it down pat.
Today was the last day of surgeries, and we headed to the hospital with only one patient on the schedule for a complicated procedure that would take up the whole morning. One patient in a day might not sound like a lot, but it’s really fine. Training a doctor in a particular surgery is way more than showing where to cut and what to sew back together. In fact, a big part of the training involves screening patients carefully to make sure they’re truly getting the best treatment available for their particular case. This often means turning people away who are interested in surgery, but for whom, for one reason or another, surgery is not the best course of treatment for their particular situation. We had several such cases where we opted to offer medical treatment or we simply explained to the women that their condition was not severe enough to justify even the minimal risk from surgery.
However, when we reached the clinic this morning for our one surgery, there were two women waiting for us. It was a mother and daughter, one with a severely prolapsed uterus and the other with stress incontinence. They had heard through their church that Solidarity Bridge was in town doing these surgeries. We were able to approve both for surgery in the afternoon, so instead of packing it in early we put in a full ten hours at the clinic today.
Tomorrow, we’re waking up one last time at the crack of dawn to do final rounds and to say goodbye to our Bolivian partners, who are now our dear friends. The rest of the team then heads back to the states. After a long day, I’m worn out and looking forward to enjoying one last dinner all together before we go our separate ways.
On behalf of Cochabamba, gracias y besitos Solidarity Bridge, que le vaya bien!