Members of Global Surgical and Medical Support Group, a 501c3 non-profit, traveled with Dr. James Lukan and Resident Aaron Epstein of UBMD Surgery, to Freetown Sierra Leone from Sept 10-17 for a Medical Mission. Also traveling with the medical mission was Dr. Kimberly Wooten, Head & Neck Surgeon from Rowell. She is a University at Buffalo Surgery faculty member and serves as the Assistant Program Director for UB’s General Surgery Residency. The team of about 20 included expert surgeons, anesthesiologists, and US Special Operations Veteran Medics.
The overall objectives of the mission to Sierra Leone were to 1) assess the medical/surgical systems available for the local population, 2) assess the local surgical education system i.e., do they have a surgical residency and how many surgeons are there for training, etc., 3) provide direct medical/surgical care to the local population by running a clinic and visiting emergency departments of local hospitals, 4) run training programs for first responders, 5) assess needs for further training in host nation first responders.
The team was able to assess the four main hospitals located in Freetown, Sierra Leone which covers the majority of major medical/surgical needs for the entire population of the country. (Though several rural medical centers are providing a limited triage capability for the population.) In the clinic, the team of medical professionals tended to approximately 100 patients.
They completed four major surgeries (even though the mission was supposed to be an assessment of the Operating Rooms, and, etc.), and trained 80 local first responders/medics in basic trauma care and life support measures. The teams met regularly and agreed with Sierra Leone authorities they would return for future training. Future missions would focus on working with surgical and non-surgical providers in Freetown, providing medical supplies and equipment given the absence of basic supplies like gauze.