Dr. Steve Petty, of Denver, CO has contributed this article written by his wife Nancy which discusses an opinion on an excellent model for making a long lasting impact in the developing world.
Steve reports that he has been able to work with an ophthalmologist over many years to teach vitrectomy and other retinal techniques.
The article discusses the pros and cons of this model compared with other models of mission.
Following is his recent reflection on this manner:
"I found in working with a national surgeon that if a person has a good background in Ophthalmology and is a good cataract surgeon that they can learn new skills like doing vitrectomy if the teaching surgeon goes back several times over a period of a few years. With the surgeon who I have worked with, I went back for a week at a time about every 3-4 months and then emailed about cases in between visits for followup consultations. By the time we were done he had done over one hundred retina cases and could really do retina surgery. It has since then been formulating in my mind that this is a way to have a real impact on teaching new skills to carefully selected individual who are motivated to learn new surgical skills. Someone like this doctor could have never left his country in Central America to do a fellowship and as you know a foreign doctor can only observe and not do any surgery in the US anyway.
I really think that this type of teaching method could have a real impact on the world and be done in the context of short term medical missions. Currently I am working with a small residency director in Ecuador and I am "tag teaming" with another retina surgeon from Nashville. We are each going twice a year so that this program gets one of us every 3 months."
To read Nancy Petty's entire article, please click here