Summertime in Santa Cruz

Written by Rachel McDonnell

Forecast in Santa Cruz

As the first snow fell in Chicago last Friday, members of our Neurosurgery mission team packed their bags for a much warmer climate. On Sunday we landed in Santa Cruz, where summer has begun and daily temperatures reach the mid 90s.

Our overnight flight delivered us to Santa Cruz at 10 a.m. and we rested from the heat of the mid-day sun. In the evening, we went to the Caja Nacional de Salud, one of the hospitals hosting us this week. We met with our colleagues in the Department of Neurosurgery, reviewed the patients selected for surgeries, and consulted on numerous other challenging cases.  

On Sunday, missioners met with colleagues at our host hospital to review surgical cases for the week and prepare necessary supplies. 

Today, veteran missioners Dr. Richard Moser and Dr. Alec Vaezi will offer training to a cohort of neurosurgeons and residents from across the continent. They will deliver this course in partnership with an international faculty, including our Bolivian partner surgeons and Dr. Pedro Mariani, who joins us from Brazil. This will be our first training course of the week, focused on endoscopic skull-based surgery. 

In addition to course lectures, our surgeons will offer mentored surgeries primarily focused on patients who suffer from the ill effects of a brain tumor. It’s hard to imagine the daily impact of tumor-related side effects such as vision loss, debilitating headaches, and dizziness.

We take great joy in knowing we will soon be helping these patients while enhancing the education of the neurosurgery community. Doctors from three cities in Bolivia and from Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile will benefit from this training course. We are one in our mission to provide high quality neurosurgical care to patients around the world. We look forward to sharing more details here as we move further into this week. Stay tuned!

Rachel McDonnell is the Director of Development and Communications at Solidarity Bridge. 

The Program for the Development of Neurosurgery is a partnership of Solidarity Bridge and Puente de Solidaridad. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard Moser and other top US neurosurgeons, we are raising the level of neurosurgery in Bolivia. Our mission teams have been the first to introduce several neurosurgical advancements in the country, while restoring quality of life to patients who had nowhere else to turn for treatment. Plans are also moving forward to form the first Epilepsy Center in Bolivia. Learn more about our Neurosurgery program.