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Dominican Republic Medical Mission Trip
In 2018, Dr. Martin De Ruyter participated for the ninth year in the annual Creighton/Boys Town pediatric ENT medical mission trip in the Dominican Republic. They operate near Santiago at the ILAC center, which is run by Creighton University. This year’s team of more than 40 personnel—including ENT surgeons, anesthesiologists, a pediatrician, nurses, a nurse practitioner, audiologists and support staff—performed more than 150 surgeries and saw nearly 300 patients in an amazing week. The primary procedures were tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies; BMTs, tympanoplasties and mastoidectomies were also performed.
New this year, the audiologist asked for anesthesia services to study the very young patients who could not be tested in the traditional fashion. To achieve this, our team provided general anesthesia, which allowed the audiologists to perform auditory brainstem response studies. This helps identify patients at their youngest age, so treatment can be started earlier with the goal of a better long-term outcome.
“This is an awe-inspiring week. Of special mention is Erios, an 18-year-old male who came to our clinic. He was quite large and stated that he was overweight because he could not exercise. Every time he did activities, it became difficult for him to breathe. People made fun of him, and he became isolated. Undeterred, he pursued other activities; he taught himself English and was currently learning Japanese! Our ENT surgeons diagnosed that he had severe obstructive pathology, and he needed a tonsillectomy. He successfully flew through surgery and just after wrote a beautiful note in English thanking everyone! The Dominicans are a most grateful people, and it is always rewarding to come back,” Dr. De Ruyter said.