Our volunteer surgical team has arrived in Vietnam! And they have quickly gotten to work. The team saw more than 200 patients on clinic day.
The team includes surgeons Drs. Kristin Stueber and Pirko Maguina; anesthesiologists Drs. James Bucher, Paul Satwicz and Kevin Healy; pediatrician Dr. David Norton; nurses Dawn Yost, Nanette Root, Lisa Pritchard and Carol Rogers; and coordinator/translators Catherine Lam, Kim Satterlee and Kris Pasillas.
They are also joined by supporters Rob and Jennifer Williams and their two children, who have been sending us great updates from the team.
Stay tuned for more updates on the team's work in Quang Ngai!
We are looking forward to attending Barco's Nightingales Foundation's annual Walk for Children in Los Angeles on April 6.
The walk raises funds for children with medical needs and honors the nurses who care for them, and we hope that those of you in the Los Angeles area will consider joining us!
The Barco’s Nightingales Foundation and Michael and Frida Donner’s support of ReSurge over the years has provided free reconstructive surgery for approximately 1,500 children worldwide, and we are so grateful for both their ongoing partnership and for the opportunity to join them and their community in raising funds for children with medical conditions.
Stay tuned for an update and pictures of the event in early April!
In Malawi, I was told by several surgeons that just getting into the operating theater was their major challenge. That surprisingly general statement meant very little to me when Dr. Jonathan Rausky (volunteer plastic surgeon), Dr. Steve Parker (volunteer anesthesiologist) and I arrived in Lilongwe for a one-week visiting educator trip in burn surgery. However, as the week progressed I began to see the complexities of the environment in which we were working and, indeed, to understand how true that statement was.
If one of the elements of running a hospital breaks down—be it infrastructure, human resources, medical records or administration—the system is disrupted and one doesn’t get into the OR. In Malawi, we learned how delicate this balance was, and our volunteers experienced first-hand the challenges that are presented when parts of the system break down.
But a ReSurge visiting educator trip is by design very different than our surgical team trips.
ReSurge volunteers Dr. Jonathan Rausky and Dr. Steven Parker visit with their patient, Fatima, in Malawi the day after she received surgery on a burn scar contracture to her neck that had previously pulled her head downward toward her chest.
Fatima was accidentally burned by boiling water in her home. She and her mother had come to the hospital many times to receive surgery but had to be turned away. This is often the case in developing countries where medical care for burns is extremely limited.
Dr. Rausky and Dr. Parker went to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe, Malawi, to do a visiting educator workshop. In collaboration with the surgical, nursing and anesthesia staff at KCH, Drs. Rausky and Parker were able to operate on Fatima and restore function to her neck—using the operation as an opportunity to teach their local counterparts at the hospital.
Photo by Joe Lippi
ReSurge volunteer Dr. Steven Parker visits his patient, Suzgo, and his beautiful mother, Dorothy, a few days after the burn scar contracture on his elbow was released.
Several months ago, Suzgo was boiling water to cook his meal when he accidentally burned his feet and arm severely with the water. Dr. Parker and one of our volunteer plastic surgeons, Dr. Jonathan Rausky, have been in Malawi doing hands-on surgical training and formal lectures specifically focused on caring for burn victims at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe. They performed surgery to release Suzgo's burn scar contracture and used the case to teach their local counterparts during surgery.
Suzgo and Dorothy were in great spirits after his surgery and expressed their gratitude to the ReSurge volunteers and staff at Kamuzu Central Hospital for his life-changing surgery.
Photo by Joe Lippi
This week we have a visiting educator team leading a workshop on burn treatment in Lilongwe, Malawi. The two-person volunteer team includes anesthesiologist Dr. Steven Parker of Juneau, AK, and Dr. Jonathan Rausky, a plastic surgeon from Paris, France.
Drs. Parker and Rausky are at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe for a week doing hands-on training and formal lectures specifically focused on caring for burn victims. Along with their local counterparts, they are selecting surgical cases that are appropriate for teaching, that provide significant quality of life improvement for the patient and that are able to be conducted safely and with appropriate follow up care.
In addition to this hands-on training, they are also providing lectures and leading discussions for residents, medical students and other medical personnel at the hospital.
Stay tuned for more updates from Malawi!
Photos by Joe Lippi, ReSurge director of medical programs and impact
Jim brings to ReSurge a wealth of experience. In addition to his appointment as chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery, he is professor of plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery at Stanford University Medical Center, and an attending surgeon at Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, where he also serves as director of the plastic and hand surgery laboratory. Renowned for his expertise in hand surgery, Jim currently serves as treasurer of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) and was previously its research director.
“Dr. Chang has long been a strong, committed supporter of our organization, and we are absolutely delighted to have someone of his profile and prominence in academic plastic surgery joining our team,” said President and CEO Susan W. Hayes. “His background and experience perfectly position him to strategically guide our programs as we navigate the changing waters of global surgery and international development.”
Please join us in welcoming Jim on board our staff!
Photo by Julia Chang
On this final day of National Burn Awareness Week we have one last graphic for you to share with friends and family on social media.
Queyen's arm was burned in a fire when she was 6 months old. She is from the mountains of Vietnam and lived with a disabling burn scar contracture on her arm for more than 25 years. As an adult, she was treated by our surgeons who released the contracture to restore function and mobility to her arm.
This is a great success story that we would love for you to share with your friends and family!
Please click the above image to like and share it on Facebook.
Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about the global crisis of burns by sharing our infographics during National Burn Awareness Week! We will continue to use these resources to shed light on this neglected global health crisis and encourage you to do the same!
As National Burn Awareness Week wraps up tomorrow, we've got two burn-related graphics for you to share today.
The first, above, shows the incredible impact of reconstructive surgery through before and after photos of one of our patients in India, Punkaj, whom we have treated over several years. Punkaj's story was also included in our blog post this week on the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves blog.
Please like and share this graphic with your friends on Facebook -- just click the image above!
You can also share with your friends the link to Punkaj's story of hope. Find it here on our website.
The other graphic we're encouraging you to share today is the above image with the statistic that 11 million people are severely burned each year.
Please simply click the image to like and share it on Facebook or you can download it here.
Thank you for helping us spread the word about the neglected but solvable global burns crisis! Stay tuned for one last graphic to share on the last day of National Burn Awareness Week tomorrow.
Our Burn Awareness Week infographic for today focuses on the impact of burn injuries in India.
Severe burns remain a neglected health crisis in developing countries like India, particularly among poor women and children who use open flames for cooking and lighting and don't have access to medical care when accidents happen. Even for its size, India bears a disproportionate amount of global burn injuries.
You can also find all of our burn-related infographics for download in this Dropbox folder. Thank you for helping us spread the word about this neglected global health crisis!
Our burn-related infographics for today focus on the burden of severe burns on women. As you can see above, more women are severely burned each year than are diagnosed with HIV and tuberculosis combined (WHO, 2004 GBD).
Half of the world still uses open fires for cooking, heating and/or lighting. In these households, disabling burns are prevalent, and women are primarily the ones doing the cooking and homemaking in developing countries, where the vast majority of severe burns occur. Lack of proper fire safety measures and loose clothing worn by women contribute to the problem. In some cases, burns also represent a human rights issue, especially for women and girls in South Asia where fire and acid attacks are used to brutally disfigure them.
In India, women make up 28 percent of the world's burden of burn injuries (even though they only represent 8 percent of the world's population). Without immediate access to adequate burn care, these burn injuries are left to heal by themselves, creating scar tissue (contractures) that can destroy function and movement, and cause disfigurement in ways unimaginable.
To learn more, please visit our website. To share these infographics, simply click on the images above.
Today's infographic in our series on burns this National Burn Awareness Week highlights the fact that the great majority of severe burns now happen in developing countries.
It was not that long ago when home and tenement fires were common in the United States. Now, only five percent of all burns worldwide happen in developed countries. The rest occur in developing countries where prevention is almost nonexistent and medical care for burns is extremely limited. The result over time is millions of needless disabilities and deaths, even for relatively minor burns.
Please help us spread the word!
Thanks for sharing, and stay tuned for additional infographics throughout the rest of this National Burn Awareness Week!
As we mentioned yesterday, it is National Burn Awareness Week in the United States, and ReSurge is taking this opportunity to shed light on severe burns around the world.
This week only, we will be sharing at least one infographic a day on a different aspect of the global burns crisis. Today's infographic explains what a burn scar contracture is and how it impacts a burn survivor, depending on where the contracture is located.
We are asking people to please share this information with your friends and family this week on social media. Simply click on the image above, save it and post it on Facebook or Twitter. Or you can also view and download all of our infographics in this Dropbox folder.
Thank you for helping us spread the word about this neglected but solvable global health crisis!
Today kicks of National Burn Awareness Week, and in conjunction with this week of observation, we have created a suite of informative infographics about the global burns crisis that we are asking people to like and share on social media.
Please help us spread the word about the neglected burns crisis by liking and sharing these graphics with your friends on social media. You can also download the graphics in this Dropbox folder
Severe burns around the world are a silent emergency, but solutions exist. Burns can easily be prevented and treated through simple surgery that corrects disabling injuries and saves countless lives.
Thank you for helping us get this important message out!
We are thrilled that a blog by President and CEO Susan Hayes on the role of health workers in addressing the burns crisis has been published by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Impatient Optimists blog, the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, IntraHealth International's VITAL blog and the InterAction blog. See the full text below.
Please also visit the blogs linked above and "like" or share the article on Facebook and Twitter!
The birth of a child is typically a time of happiness and celebration. But in Nepal a family’s joy turned to horror when during a traditional birth ceremony, 2-month-old Astha fell from her mother’s lap into an open fire. She was scooped from the flames and survived, but suffered severe burns all over her face.
Unable to get the appropriate immediate treatment she needed, Astha’s injury quickly began to “heal” itself, and scars formed over her face to the point that her mouth was sealed almost completely closed. Unable to suck, Astha was only able to eat through a small eyedropper.
Luckily, at this point Astha’s mother brought her to the hospital where a ReSurge International Surgical Outreach Program operates year-round. Dr. Nancy Chee, one of our volunteer occupational therapists and a 2014 REAL Award honoree, was there at the time. She and her Nepali trainee, Mohan Dangol, fashioned a small plastic splint that could hook on the corners of Astha’s mouth and stretch it open. Within days, Astha’s mouth opened enough for her to suck again.
Astha was fortunate to have found health workers with the necessary training and creativity to treat her burns, giving her the chance to survive and live a life free of disability. This is unfortunately not the case for many children in her country.
With many still using open flames to cook, heat and light their homes, the burns crisis in Nepal is severe. Burns are the second most common injury in rural Nepal and the 10th leading cause of death for children under age 5. Add to this situation a chronic shortage of health workers – on average, there are only about 2 physicians for every 10,000 people in Nepal – and it is not difficult to understand why burns are also the 11th leading cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for children under 5.
Many do not know that burns can also cause disability, because we don’t often see it in developed countries. However, when a burn survivor does not have access to basic medical care and the injury is left to heal by itself, a permanent tightening of the skin occurs as the body closes the wound. As a result, even a minor burn can restrict one’s ability to walk or cause a working hand to become an unusable fist.
But during our nearly 45 years of providing reconstructive surgery, we have learned that when burn survivors are given simple and affordable treatment like the kind Astha received soon after a burn injury, the burn disability is often reduced in severity or avoided altogether.
The global health crisis of burns afflicting more than 10 million people in developing countries annually can be tackled, but an expanded and improved health workforce is needed.
The fact that the global shortage of health workers now stands at 7.2 million and counting is widely acknowledged. To reduce the number of debilitating burn injuries in Nepal and in other developing countries, an expanded force of frontline health workers is undoubtedly necessary.
Beyond increasing the number of health workers, these workers must also be equipped to provide appropriate burn care by focusing on three areas: prevention, training and treatment.
1. Burn injuries are easily preventable. With community health workers actively carrying out burn awareness campaigns at the local level and teaching people basic fire safety measures, a great number of injuries can be prevented.
2. Community management of burn injuries should be improved. Health workers should know what to do when a burn victim enters their health post or clinic, administering appropriate first aid or referring the patient for advanced treatment. Ministries of health should establish a clear medical referral system and sufficient training so that burn victims like Astha receive the care they need.
3. Physicians should be equipped with the instruction and tools necessary to provide appropriate care. Once burn patients are referred to a physician, simple surgery or sometimes splinting alone can keep burn injuries from becoming severe disabilities. And with training in reconstructive surgery, surgeons can learn to repair existing burn disabilities, like our partner surgeons do in the developing countries where we work.
With National Burn Awareness Week approaching, let’s remain mindful that 95% of severe burns occur in developing countries. Frontline health workers will be critical in addressing the hidden crisis of burns, and policymakers here in the United States and around the world must ensure that more is done to ensure that burns are prevented, managed and treated through an expanded and strengthened health workforce.