Week 4, Post 1: Some Very Interesting Surgeries

July 15, 2019

After arriving back to Quito late on Sunday night, I had a difficult time getting up at 5:30 on Monday morning to volunteer at the hospital. However, I am glad that I did because I got to observe three very interesting surgeries. The first surgery was debridement of a previously placed tibial external fixture to stabilize the patient’s fractured tibia. This patient had a negative pressure system attached to his right leg to help prevent infection. The following surgery was to correct cataracts. The ophthalmologist was using microscopic sutures that were barely visible to the naked eye. Another volunteer and I then observed orthopedic surgeons repairing a fractured clavicle. After my volunteering shift at the hospital, I returned back to my host family’s apartment to catch up on some missed sleep from the previous weekend.

On Tuesday, I observed vascular surgeons perform two surgeries. The first was a young patient who had a venous malformation of the tongue, so the surgeons embolized the tissue and sutured the tongue back together. After this surgery, I viewed an angioplasty performed on the same patient that I had seen undergo an exploratory angiogram the previous week.

Aluminum Sculpture at El PanecilloThe following day, I decided to observe in Obstetrics and spend time in Neonatology. There were very few patients, so one of the nurses recommended that I go to the pre- and post-surgical floor since it was always busy. The nurses on this floor were very welcoming and eager to explain to me everything they were doing. After volunteering, one of the other volunteers and I took a short taxi to El Panecillo. This is an aluminum sculpture atop a tall hill in the center of Quito and represents the Virgin Mary. After arriving back to my host family’s apartment, I met up with a friend to go to el Mercado and later to unwind at a coffee shop. I only have 3 days left in Quito before I return home, so I am trying to make the most of my remaining time here!