Living here in Massachusetts, a good surgeon is never far away. However, in remote African countries like Zambia, finding proper surgical care can be incredibly challenging for those who need it.
This June, two members of Reliant’s medical staff took time from their busy schedules to fly to Zambia and provide badly needed surgical care for local patients. The team consisted of orthopedic/plastic surgeon Dr. David Kim and orthopedic nurse practitioner Jon Ponte, who often work together with patients at Reliant. They traveled to Zambia with other medical professionals from SurgiCorps International, an organization that arranges medical charity missions throughout the world.
The team spent two weeks at the Beit CURE International Hospital of Zambia in Lusaka, first screening patients and then performing surgery. Many patients suffered from disfiguring and debilitating burn injuries or other problems like cleft palate. Many of the patients, including children, traveled great distances to receive care, often walking for days to reach the hospital.
In order to provide proper care, the SurgiCorps staff had to bring in virtually all of the equipment they needed, including bandages and surgical instrumentation. Often working late into the night, the members of the SurgiCorps team performed 65 procedures, many of which would be truly life-changing for the people who received them. “Personally, it was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had,” remarked nurse practitioner Jon Ponte. “I think what will stay with me the most was knowing that you can so dramatically change a child’s life by doing a procedure that we consider routine in this country. It’s the most rewarding work I have ever done – hands down.”
Reliant Medical Group would like to thank Dr. David Kim and Jon Ponte for volunteering their time and helping to make the surgical mission to Zambia such a success. To learn more about the important work of SurgiCorps International, visit surgicorps.org.