Yesterday I had the privilege to be witness as a team of Italian physicians, Dr. Roberto Faggin (neurosurgeon) and Dr. Tommaso Pellis (anesthesiologist/emergency medicine cardiac specialist), worked in concert with Haitian surgeon Dr. Harry Jeudi to repair the spinal cord of a 10-day old girl suffering from spina bifida. The surgery was likely only the second of its kind ever performed in Haiti, the first being performed by the same team of doctors on Tuesday.
Dr. Faggin and Dr. Pellis, through NPH Italy and the coordination of Dr. Roberto Del’Amico St. Damien medical director and Ida Venier NPH Italy volunteer, have both donated their time to come to Haiti and will perform 12 pediatric neurosurgeries over their ten day stay. Because of the severe lack of prenatal care and lack of proper nutrition for pregnant mothers, there is an exceptionally high rate of encephalitis and spina bifida in this country. Aside from our visiting doctors, there are few treatment options for these sick children.
Our mission at St. Damien hospital is not just to provide health care for the impoverished people of Haiti, but to provide the best and most advanced medical treatments. For this reason, we are so grateful to all our supporters in Haiti and abroad who make our work possible. Not only are Dr. Faggin and Dr. Pellis giving us their time and skills, but their respective Italian hospitals in Padova and Pordenone have also donated some of the supplies necessary for the operations. In addition, NPH Italy has raised the money necessary to fund the operating costs of the surgery program.
Our surgery program in Haiti is just getting started and we are wrought with excitement about its future! We foresee many more children, like the little girl below, having life changing operations that will let them live long, healthy lives.