31 children were seen in Sunday clinic and 12 are scheduled for surgery throughout this week
Kingstown, St. Vincent & the Grenadines – World Pediatric Project’s (WPP) General surgery team kicked off the year 2023 with a smooth flowing clinic on Sunday, January 8th at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. 31 children inclusive of children from St. Lucia, Dominica, and Grenada were evaluated in clinic and 12 were scheduled for surgery throughout this week. Of the total of patients seen, 8 were regional families including 6 from St. Lucia, 1 from Dominica and 1 from Grenada.
WPP Pediatric General Surgeon Dr. Jeff Lukish was excited to be back with his team and says they are so happy and committed to the work they do, it took no convincing to be here and assist the children, many of whose conditions were worsened by the pandemic break. Dr. Lukish expressed immense gratitude to be able to meet the need, as well as to add a new surgical procedure this year. “Due to the generous donation of new specialized equipment, this year we will be able to address a need surgically we have not been able to in the past,” explains Dr. Lukish. He continues “the first year we saw some children with a very common chest wall deformity, called pectus-excavatum where the child’s chest wall is significantly dented in. This is a severe deformity, which is very stigmatizing for a child, causing them to not want to ever take their shirt off around their peers. We are thrilled to now be able to repair those right here in St. Vincent.” The donation came from a company in Washington D.C., Zimmer Biomed, with further donated instrumentation from Capital US Surgical. The additional traveling team members are anesthesiologist Dr. Tae Kim and OR nurse Sheree Dyer, who will work in collaboration with local surgeon Dr. Jasmine Ellis Davy and team members of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
This first mission is very special for several families particularly, those who had challenges getting here due to travel woes. One family from St. Lucia situation was so desperate, they paid a fishing boat some $2500 to get to St. Vincent for lifesaving medical intervention for their child. A few other families spoke of the challenges getting flights to SVG to receive the well-needed medical attention. Executive Director for WPP Caribbean Lauren McIntosh-Shallow says they are excited for the year ahead, and thanked Mustique Charitable Foundation who she says has made it possible for Vincentian Children to afford care and surgeries. She adds that the regional families have encountered a bit of a challenge so it really is a collaborative effort to make it possible. She said “for the upcoming year there will be a lot happening not only for SVG but regionally.” She adds “in the upcoming months there will more teams visiting, including speech therapy later this month, a cardiology diagnostic team, and a multi-disciplinary ophthalmology and plastic surgery team in February. McIntosh-Shallow adds that WPP plans to unveil and roll out a number of diagnostic clinics in neighboring islands in the new year. “This will facilitate and ease the process for many of our regional families, allowing quicker triage and identification of surgical patients. From there, qualified cases will either come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the surgery or be referred outside the country for more complicated cases.”
The next upcoming WPP team will be speech therapy slated for Jan 28th to Feb 1st. Individuals interested in supporting the work of WPP can contact the local office at 784-451-2989.