Members of the Duke Hand Surgery team and several Duke Anesthesia staff and surgical nurses travelled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for a medical outreach trip November 24 – December 1, 2018. Duke Hand Surgeons Fraser Leversedge, M.D., and David Ruch, M.D. along with Eric Pang, M.D. one of the current hand fellows, and Alex Lauder, M.D., a recent hand fellowship graduate (now living in Washington State) were part of a 23-member team from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand that spent a week at the Ruth Paz Hospital. The team included Duke staff anesthesiologist Stuart Grant, M.D., CH.B, Duke CRNA’s Don Moede and Meredith Muncy and perioperative nurse Kelly Boyd, RN.
“This THP – Honduras brigade of 23 individuals came together as a group and accomplished many wonderful and memorable goals. We evaluated 152 patients in our clinic on Sunday and throughout the week. We performed 68 surgical cases – essentially all of them were complex reconstructive cases. We performed the first two free functional muscle transfer cases (free functional gracilis transfers to reanimate elbow flexion) in Honduras that hopefully will transform the lives of two young men who had sustained brachial plexus injuries at work. We were able to spend time teaching several medical students and residents and work with local surgeons from Honduras who learned more about caring for patients with disorders and injuries of the upper limb. We brought “Christmas” to brighten the day for boys and girls in two orphanages. We used teamwork, creativity, and compassion to care for many who would not have opportunities for improving their conditions. Importantly, we learned a little more about ourselves and the reasons we have pursued lives and careers in medicine.”
Dr. Leversedge leads a team from the ASSH twice a year to Ruth Paz Hospital – this is his 7th outreach trip to Honduras since 2014 and the next trips are scheduled for March and November 2019. "The week provides an incredible educational experience for the Duke Hand Surgery fellows, an invaluable experience for personal and professional growth for all team members, and a tremendous opportunity to help those in great need."
Above: Dr. Ruch (blue hat) operating on a pediatric elbow fracture. Christmas stockings and gifts brought by the team on a visit to a boys' and girls' orphanage. Below: The soccer game with the boys' orphanage was the highlight after a long clinic day.