Pan American Health and Education FoundationThe Pan American Health and Education Foundation

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Supplies for Minimally Invasive Procedures Are Improving Lives of Caribbean Women

The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) facilitated a generous donation of laparoscopic equipment and instruments including HARMONIC® technology that uses ultrasonic energy to cut and coagulate tissue, trocars, and other surgical supplies from Ethicon Endo-Surgery, an operating company of Johnson & Johnson. The equipment is being used to help train physicians and create better medical outcomes for women in the Caribbean.

Using Cutting-Edge Technology
The supplies were delivered to Dr. John George, a physician improving the lives of female patients seeking treatment for gynecological issues. Minimally invasive surgical procedures use small “buttonhole” incisions to access the inside of the body. Minimally invasive surgery can be used for hysterectomies, the removal of fibroid tumors, and treatment of other gynecological conditions. By avoiding large incisions, patients may experience a speedier recovery and less pain than if they had undergone more traditional open surgical procedures.

 

 Dr. George (left) counsels a patient and Dr. Rose.

Born in Grenada but now based in Washington, D.C., Dr. George has been making trips to Tapion Hospital in St. Lucia since 2008 to perform the procedures and train physicians from around the Caribbean. For each of the trips, PAHEF has worked closely with Ethicon Endo-Surgery to secure the supplies and ensure they are delivered to the hospital.

Training Physicians to Use Minimally Invasive Techniques
Patients have been happy with the results of their surgery and actively refer friends and relatives. To date, many women have benefited from the procedures and several physicians have been trained on the minimally invasive technique. With their new training, it is hoped that the physicians will be able to use their skills to perform even more of these procedures and, in turn, continue to provide women of the Caribbean with cutting-edge, high-quality care.

Dr. Eltora Bennett is one of the physicians who has been learning the techniques. She has  traveled from Barbados to attend the sessions with her patients and plans to introduce the techniques in Barbados in September 2009.

Dr. George is planning future trips to continue teaching physicians. He stresses that the ongoing success of the mission will depend upon the trainees quickly mastering their new skills; procurement of the equipment, and; treatment of patients with slim financial resources.

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