Honduras Surgical Eye Mission – 2015

April 28, 2015

A successful surgical mission was carried out by Visionary Foundation and Alberto Martinez, MD April 22-27, 2015 at “Fundacion de Servicios Medicos Voluntarios” (FSMV) Hospital Leonardo Martinez, San Pedro Sula, Honduras. 

FSMV, a charity clinic lead by Dr. Marcos Fajardo, M.D, serves the indigent of the San Pedro Sula. Dr. Fajardo provided the logistic support and infrastructure that allowed us to provide free eye surgical care. The patients operated were pre-screened by Dr. Fajardo. Pre surgical screening consisted of a complete eye exam, diagnosis and plan. Once the need for surgery was determined, appropriate testing such as measurement of the eye length, corneal topography and B-Scan ultra-sonography were performed. 

This year we were blessed to count with the help of Vanessa Lemus, Certified Surgical Technologist at Palisades Eye Surgery Center. She resides in the Metropolitan area of Washington DC and works with Dr. Martinez at the surgery center. Vanessa volunteered her time and skills. These skills were essential for the successful completion of the mission, particularly in the area of corneal transplants. She was able to train Dr. Fajardo’s surgical technologists on this highly technical, delicate procedure.

Following the principle of “when you give a fish to a man, you feed him for a day. When you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”, Dr. Martinez was able to teach Dr. Fajardo’s new associate, Dr. Marvin Barahona the basic skills of corneal transplantation. Dr. Barahona has recently graduated. We are committed to continue his education and are confident that he will be able to perform corneal transplants with his support.

A total of 33 eye surgeries were performed:

  • 12 corneal transplants (8 Penetrating, 4 lamellar or DSAEK)
  • 4 Istent device implantations for glaucoma
  • 17 cataract surgeries (1 phaco+ Istent, 1phaco+DSAEK, 3 extra capsular)

Post-ops were seen the following day after surgery, and all medications needed for post-op care were provided.  Postoperative care on the transplants continues to this moment with the wonderful help of the app WhatsApp, by means of high quality photography and descriptions

Complications:

  • One of the DSAEK had a partial flat chamber. The chamber deepened two days after surgery and the transplanted button is clearing.
  • One Istent implantation was unsuccessful.

We plan to return the first week of April 2016 this time with 2 surgeons. One of them may focus exclusively in transplants the other in cataract surgery. Thus we hope to have a bigger surgical impact. One of the most difficult parts of the mission was the heart wrenching process of turning down many people who direly needed a corneal transplant because we did not have enough cornea tissue.

We are thankful to the numerous individuals and organizations that helped us with the success of this mission: Alcon Laboratories, Vanessa Lemus, North Eastern Pennsylvania Eye Bank, Katena, Glaukos, Allergan, M. F. Roider Foundation, Palisades Eye Surgery Center, and Mr. James Burrus.

In addition to the Eye surgical mission, Anna Pigotti with the support of Visionary Foundation and Potomac Physician Associates, provided the funds to purchase 6 months’ worth of milk supply, reading books, and personal hygiene products for the 79 girls housed at the orphanage “Hogar San Pedro” directed by Sister Thelma. Future plan in this area includes visiting the orphanage in 2016, and providing cash donations for the purchase of needed items. We plan to fund a psychologist that would help the girls cope with psychological traumas such as abandonment, physical and sexual abuse in the future.

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