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Emory Urologists Continue Free Care in Haiti

In summer of the past five years, either Dr. John Pattaras or Dr. Viraj Master (both associate professors of Urol­ogy) travelled to the central plateau of Haiti to provide free surgical care to the local population. They go as part of Emory Medishare (which is a branch of Project Medishare-a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) which travels each year to Hinche, which is about 100 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince. Along with General Surgery and Anesthesiol­ogy personnel, John and Viraj work with Medishare’s local medical staff to set up clinics at the Hopital Saint Terese, train local healthcare workers, and assist in the improvement of the healthcare infrastructure. Medical students from Emory School of Medicine organize and run the entire trip including pre and post-operative care.

Surgical conditions are very primitive in the central plateau as compared to the United States. The hospital in Hinche has batteries which provide limited energy for lighting and various surgical equipment. It is not unusal for surgery to take place using headlamps John, Viraj, and the students have brought from home. On surgical days, preparation for cases begin just after dawn and surgery may go on late into the night in order to accommodate as many people as possible over the trip’s time. Many patients wait months or even years for treatment.

Each year, 10 Emory medical students raise the majority of money themselves, with activities like date night auc­tions, and others. The faculty self-fund themselves. The total yearly budget is 60,000 dollars for two weeks, for which surgical care is delivered to more than 60 patients.

For continued ready, click here and read an article from the American College of Surgeons.

For more information or to make a gift in support of this program, please contact James Owen at 404-778-5429.