Kathmandu, Nepal -- Joe Lippi, Associate Director of Medical Education and Outreach
This is my first trip as an employee of ReSurge. Though I have been fortunate enough to travel to some developing countries for school or previous work, there is something profoundly different about this trip.
First, the team and their level of dedication to this work and to these patients is truly an inspiration. This is hard work. The days are long and exhausting, and every volunteer is using two weeks of precious vacation time to work as hard or harder than they do during their usual jobs. It takes a special breed of human being to do that, and clearly these ReSurge volunteers are of that breed.
I’ve also had the opportunity to observe the treatment experience of several patients from end to end. I’ve been able to spend time with patients with burn scar contractures as they awaited their surgery; I’ve observed the fascinating surgeries take place; I’ve watched the recovery process and the dressings, splinting and occupational therapy of patients post-operatively. Burn surgeries are truly a life-changing intervention, and I’ve been lucky enough to see that first hand.
To treat the wounds and design a device to open up the nearly burned shut mouth of a four month old child with burns throughout her face and body is to give her a chance to eat, to breathe, to survive.
To operate on a young boy’s arm to return the extension of his fingers and arm is to allow him to not only play with his friends but to hold a pencil. To raise his hand fully in class.To release the burn scar contractures on both arms of a grandfather and give him the proper splint and exercises to ensure that function is truly restored is to enable him to care for his grandchild and to return to work—to keep his family together.
The patients here are an inspiration. They are strong, brave, and resilient. The ReSurge volunteers who have traveled across the world to offer up their experiences, ideas and wisdom are helping the talented staff of Kirtipur Hospital expand its knowledge and improve patient care. This hospital is a special place with endless potential to be a world-class center for reconstructive surgery.
The work being done by Dr. Shankar Rai and his staff of physicians, nurses and support personnel is a model for how the highest quality, dignified care can be provided to some of the poorest people on earth. It’s been an amazing trip so far, and I’m honored to be part of an organization that works with such dedicated humanitarians to deliver care to those who need it most.