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Medical Mission to the Dominican Republic

Shah Scrubs SmallBy Nirav K. Shah, MD, FACS

From August 16th to August 22nd of this year, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help make a small difference in the lives of some residents of the Dominican Republic, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little about the trip.

We journeyed to the Bonao region in the central highlands of the Dominican Republic. Although there is now some industry in Bonao itself, the Dominican Republic remains a developing country with a per capita GDP of around $5,800. Our ultimate destination was the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation Complex, which contains a school for over 500 children, along with a health facility that has brought much needed services to this area and the surrounding villages. The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation's mission: "To provide a significant humanitarian impact in the communities in the Dominican Republic resulting in a better quality of life to those who experience a lack of education, poor access to health care and nutrition and who have little or no sustainable employment."

Medical Mission Team

The foundation has partnered with the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI), and has made a difference within the community through their educational programs, health services, water purification system and sports programs.

I was joined on the trip by our own practice manager Leo D'orazio who provided invaluable support and assistance. Also making the journey were Daniel Suarez (CEO of Optec USA, a Georgia based brace manufacturer), and Orthotics and Prosthetic professionals Carlo Cocco from Philadelphia and Luis Estevez, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

We completed scoliosis screening for 18 young and adult patients, distributed spine braces where needed, and also fitted a young 12 year old girl for a custom made brace. It was remarkable to see the gratitude of the young and adult patients we met on this trip, and an indelible reminder of how fortunate we are to live in the United States. One of our most rewarding experiences was seeing our first patient, Marie, a 12 year old that upon examination has severe scoliosis. We casted Marie for a permanent brace which will be made by Luis in Santo Domingo and will be fitted on our next trip in March, 2014. Marie will now have the opportunity to grow into a healthy young woman. Mission accomplished.

The PBSC Medical Mission Team will be returning to the school in Bonao in March, 2014 to do follow up visits on the 18 patients seen in August, 2013 and see new patients for scoliosis screening.

We intend to make this a regular part of the PBSC Medical Mission Mandate, and plan to visit every 6 months to continue this Mission initiative. We are looking for sponsors to underwrite diagnostic Imaging and Physical Therapy for the patients of the PBSC Medical mission. If you can provide financial support for this life changing Medical Mission, please email Leo Paul D’Orazio, Practice Administrator, Princeton Brain and Spine Care.

 

LastUpdate: 2017-02-12 12:53:59

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