In February 2020, Duke Orthopaedic hand surgeon Dr. Marc Richard joined a group from Stanford University for a visit to Hospital 175 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for a week long exchange including education, surgery, and the establishment of research protocols to understand the effect of the mission trip.
The Stanford team members included Dr. Robin Kamal (Duke Hand Fellowship alumnus) and Dr. Lauren Shapiro (Duke Hand Fellowship future alumna). Preparing to treat patients who traveled from all over Vietnam, the team spent their first day in indications clinic where they examined varied and complex cases. Subsequently, the next few days were spent in the operating rooms in the mornings and teaching, lecturing, and reviewing case presentations in the afternoons. The team primarily performed hand and upper extremity cases including distal radius fractures, both bone forearm fractures, distal humerus and humeral shaft fractures and malunions, distal radius mass biopsy, elbow instability, and multiple tendon transfers for a patient with a radial nerve injury following a motorbike accident.
Through a grant, the group established follow-up protocols through a smartphone text message system for operative patients including the use of patient-reported outcome measures. The goal is to understand the ability to affect change through episodic mission trips and to identify barriers to success such that necessary changes can be made. The group plans to return next year and continue this work.