Medical Missions – Dominican Republic

Butterfly Foundation Volunteers Train Medical Professionals in the Dominican Republic to Perform Life-Saving Spine Surgery

Doctors Plan Nine to Ten Surgeries on Children with Complex Spine Disorders

(September 24th, 2009) – Leading surgeons and medical professionals from the USA are headed to the Dominican Republic the first week of October 2009 as part of a Butterfly Foundation-funded Spinal Clinic. Dr. Andrew Moulton, a founding director of the Butterfly Foundation and attending physician at New York Medical College, will lead a team to Gautier Hospital in Santo Domingo. Dr. Arash Emami, a clinical assistant professor from New York University Langone Medical Center, Denise DiGioia MS, CRNA Director of Anesthesia for the Butterfly Foundation, Kevin Costadura, Equipment and Supplies Coordinator, will assist the surgeons in performing complex spine surgery on 9-10 children and perform routine checkups on up to 15 previous patients.

Complex spinal disorders are much more prevalent in developing countries due to malnutrition and other conditions. Complex spine surgery is both difficult and expensive, leading fewer cases of treatment for potentially life-threatening spine disorders. Dr. Moulton explains, “Surgeons in developing nations such as the Dominican Republic lack the financial resources and training to perform the most up-to-date complex spine surgeries. As a US non-profit surgical organization, we’ve dedicated the Butterfly Foundation to providing hands-on training to these professionals by performing surgeries at their own hospitals.” He added, “Donations from Medtronic Inc., Globus Relief Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation enable these medical professionals to perform surgeries and save lives throughout the year.”

The mission will also include screening of potential patients for next years’ trip, scheduled in February 2010. The missions rely heavily on the generosity, time and expertise of many professionals and organizations. At Gautier Hospital, Dr. Fredis Reyes is head of the orthopedic department where the surgeries will take place. Medtronic Inc. is providing implants in the cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and Medtronic product representatives from Spinal Associates Yury Shenderov and David Crystal will assist in the operating room to help with the instruments. Special thanks is extended to Dr. Frank Valdez, an orthopedic surgeon in the Dominican Republic who helps facilitate the success of the mission.

Below are photos taken during this mission as well was a re-visit performed in 2010 by Dr Emami, Dr Kumar Sinha and Michelle Brenner, NP.   24 surgeries were done, including severe/complex scoliosis reconstructions.