Thoracic surgery, Operation Smile, and a new perspective in Chia


Spent the morning in Chia with Dr. Osorio (thoracic surgeon) at Clinica Universitario Teleton.  Cases went smoothly, beautifully and quickly. Then we rounded on patients in another facility..


While I was in Chia, I had an opportunity to meet several members of Fundacion Operacion Sonrisa (Operation Smile to all my stateside readers).  I spoke with Pilar, one of the nurses on the surgical team, and Dr. Celso Bohorquez Escobar, plastic surgeon, who said they have sixteen cases planned for this weekend.  They come to Chia several times a year, and operate in multiple locations throughout Colombia.  For any of you unfamiliar with this organization (consisting of volunteer doctors, nurses and other medical staff), Operation Smile performs cosmetic repairs of facial deformities such as cleft palate for indigent patients and their families.

I also had a chance to (briefly) meet two urologists from Medellin that traveled to Chia to perform a urinary continence restoring surgery. I particularly like to see this sort of thing, (bringing care to patients in rural areas, or those who would otherwise go without) – because while neither of these procedures is arguably lifesaving, both procedures are dramatically life-altering, and contribute greatly to the enhancement of quality of life.

But, back to Dr. Osorio – I especially enjoyed talking to Dr. Osorio because as the Dean of Medicine for a medical school, he has different perspectives on the future of medicine, and Colombian medicine in general. He also shows a lot of insight, and open-mindedness to outside perspectives and opinions. Part of this comes from dealing with students and residents everyday, another part may be from his partnership with another physician in Chile (Dr. Claudia Suarez) and some of it undoubtably comes from experience.

I found it interesting and illuminating that Dr. Osorio is probably the first person to ask about my observations, and perspectives on surgery and medicine in Bogota, after being here three months, meeting numerous surgeons, and visiting multiple facilities.. And he seemed to actually be interested in the answers.. I think that any doctor who takes the time to consider the insights of foreign nurse, and asks for criticisms, is someone, who takes the time to look at the world differently, (and medicine needs that.)

Upcoming week: more thoracics!


It’s good to be back in Bogota!  Now, if only I could line up all my appointments as easily.

I had anticipated more neurosurgery this week, but with the big neurosurgery conference in Mexico, it’s not turning out that way.  So far, it looks like it’s going to be more of a Thoracic surgery week – with some orthopedic surgery and general surgery mixed in..

I’m going to see Dr. Osorio again, at the hospital in Chia this time, (if I can find it…)

I’m hoping to meet with Dr. Stella Martinez too.. I’ve heard a lot of great things about her from several of her colleagues, so I am really looking forward to it.

I’m still trying to arrange a meeting with Dr. Jimenez sometime this week – so I will keep you updated with how that turns out..

Tomorrow, I’m interviewing Dr. Klaus Mieth, an orthopedic surgeon – and I am hoping to catch up with Dr. Roosevelt Fajardo, (general surgeon) over at Santa Fe de , to get together later this week..

There are a few other physicians, I am still hoping to hear back from – so we’ll see how the week unfolds.

Update: 6 April 2011

Met with Dr. Klaus Mieth yesterday – interesting gentleman; speaks three languages; english, german and spanish.. Works full time as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee procedures – but also serves as the Director of the largest (and non-profit too) bone and tissue bank in Colombia..

Dr. Juan Fernando Ramon, Neurosurgery


Spent the morning with Dr. Juan Fernando Ramon, neurosurgeon at Hospital Centro de la Policia. (He also operates at two other hospitals). Dr. Ramon is one of only a handful of neurosurgeons in Colombia who performs neuroendoscopy.

We toured the hospital – and then I watched him perform a small procedure for radiculopathy (in a patient with chronic back pain.)  The hospital has a fully-equipped $4 million dollar neuro-suite (not seen in photo below.)

The patient kindly gave permission for the use of the photos

 
 
Dr. Ramon (and patient)
Met with Dr. Camilo Osorio, Thoracic surgeon this afternoon, for patient consultations.  He was great – spent a lot of time with patients explaining procedures, and answering questions.  He also calls all of his patients a few days before and after surgery – just to see how they are doing.  I’ll see Dr. Osorio in the operating room soon.
 
Ran into Dr. Rincon (cardiac surgeon) from SaludCoop – literally.   I plan to go back over to SaludCoop and see him and Dr. Mauricio Jimenez again.
 
I’ve decided to cease my pursuit of Dr. Camilo Prieto- after several emails, phone calls (by other surgeons vouching for me) and a visit – I just have to assume he isn’t interested in participating.  I only pursued him so far because besides being heavily advertised, and well-known here, I never actually got to speak to him personally, and never got a “no” from anyone.. But now that others have contacted him on my behalf – I’ll definitely take that as a ‘no’..

A day of Passion!


Had a long, but exciting day, with some interesting doctors – who are strikingly passionate about their work, which is always wonderful to see.

This morning, I traveled out to Chia, to the University of Sabana to visit with Dr. Camilo Osorio Barker, MD who is the Dean of Medicine, (and a practicing thoracic surgeon.)  Like many thoracic surgeons here in Colombia, Dr. Osorio practices at several locations, (primarily out in Chia at the University-affiliated hospital) but he also sees patients at Cardioinfantil. (He is partnered with Dr. Tellez and Dr. Garzon, both of whom we’ve interviewed previously)

One three- day weekend a month, he sees patients in Medellin.  He primarily specializes in the treatment of hyperhidrosis (excess sweating of palms, facial flushing) by thorascopic sympathectomy.  He report that this makes up about 90% of his practice – with the remainder of cases as VATS lung resections, and other lung procedures.    There’s a lot more to tell – but it’s been a long day, and I have an early appointment tomorrow with Dr. Ramon (neurosurgery) at Hospital Centro de Policia..

Don’t worry – I will be seeing Dr. Osorio again soon.

Next stop was Dr. Fernando Hakim, a neurosurgeon at Santa Fe de Bogota.  He was a fantastic interview – while he does the whole spectrum of neurosurgical procedures for vascular malformations, tumors, spinal problems, etc, he is best known for his treatment of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).

(As I mentioned in a previous post) It seems almost inevitable, or inescapable that the son of the famed Dr. Salomon Hakim (who developed the first treatment for normal pressure hydrocephalus) – has carried on his father’s legacy. But Dr. Fernando Hakim is passionate about neurosurgery, and has certainly made his mark..

He clearly loves his work – I could have interviewed him for hours, and hours (but he’s a busy neurosurgeon, so I didn’t).  I will be seeing him again soon – (next week) and I’ll bring more information then.

Lastly, I stopped in to see Dr. Jose Felix Castro, general surgeon for a quick visit to get some last minute information for another project I am working on..