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.)

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