12th General Surgery Mission Begins

Written by: Jodi Grahl, Director of Gynecology, General Surgery, and Pacemaker Programs

The Viedma Hospital is the highest level public hospital in Cochabamba. It serves patients from throughout Bolivia’s central breadbasket and most populated region. In 2007, we brought our very first General Surgery Mission Team to this hospital. Now, 10 years later, we return for another General Surgery Mission, the 12th in our program’s history.

On this occasion, we have been invited to expand training in highly complex cancer surgeries under the leadership of mission surgeon Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria. Another team surgeon, Dr. Gay Garrett, will work alongside long-term partners and new medical residents at Viedma to expand their skills in minimally-invasive general surgery.

Dr. Garrett and Dr. Herrera work together on a laparoscopic procedure during our 2014 mission trip to Tiquipaya. 

In addition to training to increase the types of surgeries offered, our team will also support efforts to expand the volume of patients served. The Viedma Hospital provides 255 consults every day, but has only 30 surgery patient beds. To meet the heavy surgical demand, a new facility, called the Cochabamba Hospital, recently opened a few blocks away. We are pleased to know that our long-time Bolivian partner, Dr. Lucho Herrera, is leading the surgical expansion efforts at the Cochabamba Hospital. As part of this work, Dr. Herrera invited Dr. Garrett, his colleague of many years, to also provide training specifically in laparoscopic colon, hernia and gall bladder surgeries for the O.R. team at this new hospital.

Our missioners will be on the ground for one week in Cochabamba. We are humbled and grateful for the opportunity to partner once more with the dedicated Bolivian professionals at these prestigious sites, empowering them to serve the many patients awaiting their care.

Our 2017 Spring General Surgery Mission Trip is taking place from March 10 to 19. Subscribe to our blog to receive each update from the team. 

Throughout the year, our Bolivian partner surgeons perform gall bladder and hernia surgeries for impoverished patients identified through our Bolivian office in Cochabamba. Our mission teams deliver vital equipment and supplies and provide ongoing training to continue to advance skills in these procedures and expand competencies in these and other high-complexity surgeries such as megacolon and various oncological surgeries. Learn more about our General Surgery Program.