Cybersurgery

By John Lovejoy, Jr., M.D.

There have been several occasions recently where lives have been either saved or improved because of the electronic capability of Hôpital Sacré Coeur. Several months ago, I received a call that there was a patient with a broken extremity with a severe deformity. There were no orthopaedic surgeons at hand, but fortunately some skilled technicians and surgeons. Via Skype, Onsite Buildings and Grounds Coordinator, Tim Traynor, was able to get an x-ray of the extremity sent for evaluation. Careful instructions were given to the physicians who were present. They were able to reduce the fracture and put it in a cast. You can’t believe how proud they were of themselves, as we were that they were able to do it.

Several days ago, a patient got crushed between a tap-tap and a pole in front of the hospital. She had a pulseless extremity with a crushed and vascular injury from the femur to below the knee. Once again, we were able to consult via Skype and fortunately, there was a vascular surgery team present. Unfortunately, we were not able to salvage the extremity, but we did save the patient’s life – and guess what – we have the ability to make her a prosthesis when the amputation heals.

Modern technology is wonderful. The hospital is blessed to have this ability and the people of Haiti are so fortunate to have volunteer teams who are willing to extend their capabilities via Skype and the internet in order to provide good medical care.

Dr. John Lovejoy, Jr. is an orthopedic surgeon from Jacksonville, FL. Dr. Lovejoy has made countless trips to Milot as a medical volunteer. The prosthetics laboratory is the brainchild of Dr. Lovejoy who worked tirelessly overseeing all aspects of its creation, funding and program maintenance.

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