Working with Dr. Fekadu in the OR has been a great experience. He is a skillful surgeon and very willing to both teach and learn. The common procedures that we’ve been performing include: total abdominal hysterectomy, open myomectomy, c-sections, and oophorectomy. We’ve also done a lot of ultrasounds, as the word is out in the community that there is a farenji ob-gyn at the hospital.
A highlight of my trip has been working with Dr. Fekadu on a procedure called a total vaginal hysterectomy. For some patients, this is an ideal way to remove the uterus, as it is minimally invasive, has quicker recovery and less post-op pain. The procedure was new to Dr. Fekadu, but he quickly progressed from observing the procedure to assisting and ultimately to working as the lead surgeon. We’ve also discussed how to identify those patients for which this procedure is ideal.
I’ve also grown as a surgeon myself because the patients we’ve encountered here often have advanced diseases compared to patients in the United States. For example, we removed a 30 cm X 20 cm fibroid from a patient’s uterus; the largest I’ve ever removed! Also, I’ve had to rely heavily on my ultrasound skills, as this is usually the only imaging modality available for pelvic masses. Laparoscopy is not performed at this hospital as the power is unreliable. During two cases, the power went out at critical times when visualization was important to treat bleeding.
Something that has really stood out for me, has been the kindness of the patients and the hospital staff. It is hard to believe that the patients receive only NSAIDs for pain control after a large abdominal surgery, and yet they rarely complain about pain during post-op rounds. It has been a pleasure and an honor to have taken this trip and to have worked alongside Dr. Fekadu and the rest of the staff at the hospital.