2011 in review: State of the Blog

Thank you to everyone for making Bogotá Surgery.org a phenomenal success!  Surprisingly – this annual report shows a few less views than our own counters – but we are thrilled all the same..  Here’s hoping for more and greater successes in 2012!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,700 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dr. Santos, Clinica Shaio

Dr. Hernando Santos, cardiac surgeon at Shaio

Spent the morning with Dr. Hernando Santos, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Clinica Shaio for aortic valve replacement.

Got some great intra-operative photos (with patient’s permission, of course!) but I’ll spare the squeamish.

Dr. Rudolfo Reyes, plastic surgeon

Dr. Reyes, on the Right

Spent the afternoon with Dr. Reyes in the operating room.. Happy to report that I remembered I had a camera in my back pocket this time.. (you may recognize Dr. Reyes from Dr. Santo’s OR, but with the masks, maybe not.) Dr. Alvaro Pedraza, ENT assisted.

In the OR with Drs. Roa

Went to the OR today with the doctors Roa (father and son) for combination plastic surgery procedures..

Interviewed Dr. Cure – a neurosurgeon – hope to follow him to the OR soon.. Off to surgery with Dr. Rudolfo Reyes tomorrow..  More information to follow when I get some time!

Dr. Sergio Abello and Dr. Felipe Roa

Met with Dr. Sergio Abello, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle surgery and Dr. Felipe Roa, plastic surgeon.. Dr. Roa is the son of Dr. Tito Roa, and they share a practice..

Planning to follow both of them to the OR tomorrow and next week..

Dr. Francisco Cabal, Orthopedics

Met with Dr. Francisco Cabal, orthopedic surgeon and international medical advisor (for Colombia) again, and he bids me to extend a warm welcome on his behalf to all North American patients coming to Colombia.  He also states that he is here to help ANY patient, interested in going to ANY city in Colombia for surgery including Medellin, Cali, Cartagena, Bogota and all parts in between.  I’ll be following him to the OR soon – more later.. 

Lest you think surgeons aren’t sympathetic to your discomfort – Dr. Cabal recently had ankle surgery, so he is definately walking a mile in your shoes..

Also met with Dr. Tito Tulio Roa, plastic surgeon, who has the distinction of having taught most of the plastic surgeons here in Colombia.

Filled up my date book with more interviews, and surgeries for the next few weeks..

Meeting with Mauricio Pelaez, Thoracic Surgeon later this afternoon, so I’ll post and let you know how that goes..

Rescheduled with the famous Dr. Hoyos – more on that next week.

Dr. Santos, almost Dr. Hoyos and Dr. Castro

Full day today – met with Dr. Hernando Santos at Clinica Shaio – and I’ll be heading to the OR with him on Monday..

 Dr. Hoyos – he was in surgery when I arrived for our appointment, so I’ll try again soon..

Spent the evening with Dr. (Jose) Felix Castro, a very nice general surgeon, on staff at Clinica del Country.. Followed him to the OR for a case –

Dr. Ivan Santos, plastic surgery

Dr. Ivan Santos

Dr. Ivan Santos, (right)

Spent time in the operating room at Shaio watching Dr. Ivan Santos operate this morning.  Operating rooms are large, clean, well-lit and all equipment is modern and fully functional.

Dr. Santos operates with a second surgeon assisting, Dr. Rudolfo Reyes.  Today’s case which was a combination of body and facial procedures was performed under a combination of local and conscious sedation.  Patient appeared comfortable during the procedure and all standardized intra-operative protocols were followed.  Sterility was maintained throughout the case.  (No intra-operative photos taken with patient in view – for privacy concerns.)

The particular case was more complex that average – patient was undergoing a revision after previous surgery several years ago (with another surgeon).  Dr. Santos was meticulous in attention to detail, calm and pleasant in demeanor, and aggressive in surgical management.  He has a good rapport with his OR team, who were able to anticipate his needs.

Going back on Monday for another case.

Note: Be careful when searching the internet for doctor information – there is a lot of disinformation out there (which is why I am writing a book).  Currently there is a doctor impersonating Dr. Ivan Santos – if you do a search for Dr. Santos – this doctor comes up, claiming to be in practice with him.  Please be careful everyone!)

More about Dr. Ivan Santos:

Back in the OR with Ivan Santos

Bogota’s celebrity surgeons

Bogota’s Hottest Surgeons

Dr. Ivan Santos and Clinica Shaio


This will be a quick post this evening before I run back out to catch another case.

Spent most of the morning in the OR with Dr. Mario Andres Lopez Ordenez (Thoracic Surgery) over at Mederi.. Complex case but he handled it beautifully. (and I remembered to get photos, so I will post later when I have more time.)

Dr. Mario Andre Lopez

Dr. Mario Lopez, Thoracic Surgeon

Then I raced over to meet with Dr. Luis Jaime Tellez Rodriguez (Thoracic Surgery) over at Cardioinfantil.  He works with Dr. Garzon.   No surgery this afternoon, but just give me time!  To be fair – he’s a lot like Dr. Edgar Guiterrez, (Cartagena) and he sees patients at several facilities; Cardioinfantil, Clinica Colombia, Clinica Reina Sofia. 

Now I’m getting ready to head back over to see Dr. Fernando Arias at Santa Fe de Bogota.  I interviewed him this afternoon – he’s a real interesting guy so I’ll write more about him later – but now I am heading back to see him at work.

Dr. Fernando Arias

Dr. Fernando Arias, General & Oncology Surgeon

A delightful surprise

Caught up with Dr. Ivan Santos, plastic surgeon today.  What a delightful surprise!  After all I had read and seen, I had expected an arrogant self-important surgeon – but that certainly wasn’t the reality.  (To all you naysayers who think that surgeons being interviewed by a relatively obscure nurse are always on their best behavior – well – that’s just not the case.)

I will tell you answers to the rumors floating around Bogota (which are):

1.  Dr. Santos is so busy, he often sleeps in his car between cases..  TRUE.. He loves to work – used to operate seven days a week, but now down to six..

2.  He isn’t related to Dr. Hernando Santos Calderon (heart surgeon at Shaio) and President Juan Manual Santos (President of Colombia.)  Okay, only an NP in cardiothoracic surgery would rank it that way – but there you have it.

Don’t let his youthful good looks fool you, at 41, Dr. Santos is a seasoned, experienced surgeon.  I’ll tell you more when I get back from the operating room on Saturday.

And as you know, if you want the real stats, you have to wait for the book..

Interview with Dr. Freddy Sanabria

Here’s some of the highlights from one of today’s interviews – with Dr. Freddy Sanabria, a charming young plastic surgeon operating here in Bogota – across the street from Santa Fe de Bogota, as a matter of fact.

He does a wide range of procedures including plastic / aesthetic surgery of face and body as well as offering a variety of injectables, laser procedures, and other treatments.

He has a full OR set up contained within two floors of the Centro Medico de La Sabana building.  The equipment was refreshing modern, along with the facility itself, with good lighting and nice sized ORs.

His English is excellent, and polished, courtesy of several training stints in the US as a medical student, and later, as a resident.  He has a series of infomercials on YouTube in Spanish with English subtitles..

I won’t be able to tell you much more until I take a trip to the OR. (and I’m saving the best details for the book!)

Bogota notes

Re-post from sister site.

January 27th, 2011 – Surgical Tourism in Bogota, Colombia

Fundacion Cardioinfantil

Currently working on my latest project – here in Bogota, Colombia.  So far everyone I’ve contacted has been wonderfully gracious – even with very little notice! 

Chief of (adult) Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Juan Pablo Umana and Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Nestor Sandoval; Fundacion Cardioinfantil
January 31, 2011
Spending some more time over at Cardioinfantil this afternoon. I have been contacting surgeons all over the city, and my schedule is quickly filling up. 
Talked with Dr. Renato Bresciano, a very nice (talented) pediatric cardiovascular surgeon, and visited one of his patients in the NICU this afternoon – a little baby girl just out of the operating room.  Spoke with the nursing staff – it’s great how nurses from everywhere  – we all connect, and all care and worry about the same things.
I’ll be over at the Shaio Clinic later this week.
10 February 2011 –
It’s been a busy week – at Clinica Shaio, Cardioinfantil, Clinica del Country (San Sebastian) and tomorrow SaludCoop.. In between all of that – I’ve been hitting the pavement to check out some private clinics..
12 February 2011
Not enough hours in the day – racing around Bogota, all day, everyday, meeting new people, taking notes, photos..  talking to patients in hospitals, shaking hands – trying to get a glimpse inside at the everyday workings..  Then back to the apartment at night, typing, typing, typing.. Researching, emailing, requesting more interviews..
My main expense these days is the cab fare..  Already booked up with meetings for the next two weeks, but I’ll try to squeeze as many as possible in – without crowding.. Still going to the ORs – since that’s the real reality for our patients.. Spending as much time as I can at each site, going back for second, third, fourth, even fifth visits  – until I almost feel like staff sometimes..
Next week – Bariatric week..
with Dr. Urazon, Plastic Surgeon


15 February 2011 – wow – what a different an hour makes..
when you are in the company of Dr. Chaux, Bariatric surgeon.. I spent much of the day with Dr. Chaux and his group – in the operating room, observing.. All procedures in under an hour.. (Roux N Y gastric bypass, sleeve ect..) Don’t worry – he certainly wasn’t rushed about it – just efficient, meticulous..

24 February 2011
Been too busy meeting physicians, spending time in the OR and writing to keep up.. Spent time with a talented young Thoracic surgeon today, Dr. Juan Carlos Garzon. Sorry, no pictures this time – too busy to stop and take any! (which frequently happens).

Met quite a few terrific surgeons, spending a lot of time on my feet, peeking over their shoulders so I can tell my readers everything they need to know. A couple more surgeries tomorrow and a full weekend too..

More Bariatrics please!

If you’ve been following my reports on Cartagenasurgery.wordpress.com then you know I’ve been meeting with bariatric surgeons across the city. Today I met with Dr. Richardo Nassar Bechara, who is the Chief of the Bariatric Surgery program at Fundacion Santa Fe de Bogota. He is part of a comprehensive Obesity Clinic program which includes multiple specialties and comprehensive medical and surgical treatment for obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Right now he is preparing for the upcoming Latin American Congress on Obesity and Obesity Surgery so he has no surgery planned for several days. (Don’t worry – I’ll be going to the OR soon so I can report back to all of you.)

The program stresses lifestyle change and includes cardiology, endocrinology, physical therapy, nutrition, psychiatry and internal medicine.

Part of the program includes the VidActiva gym which offers personalized training programs with cardiovascular exercise, weight training, complimentary health services such as tai chi, dance, pilates, acupuncture and massage therapy. The clinic is staffed full-time with a sports medicine physician.