Team NY Sees Huge Strides In Operation International’s First Visit To Bhutan

March 23, 2023
“Your work will have a lasting impact on our patients, physicians, and the entire medical community.”

Operation International’s first ever visit to Bhutan is one the isolated Himalayan Kingdom won’t soon forget, according to local doctors.

Team NY performed more than 60 life-changing procedures during its weeklong visit to the country, a medical mission that Operation International has been working to make happen for two years. The trip also brought tens of thousands of dollars in donated medical supplies to Mongar Regional Referral Hospital.

“Your work will have a lasting impact on our patients, physicians, and the entire medical community,” the hospital medical director said of Team NY’s time in the country.

Making Surgical History in Bhutan

Several operations performed by Team NY’s 20 medical professionals marked the first time the procedures were completed in Bhutan’s history. 

These included a laparoscopic pre peritoneal repair of inguinal hernia, a laparoscopic resection of gastric cancer, a resection of a pancreatic tumor, and a facial reconstruction of a case of micrognathia.

Local leaders were abundantly appreciative of these surgeries, and all the medical care Operation International brought to the country. In addition to a goodbye dinner hosted by local hospital staff, Bhutan’s Minister of Health hosted Team NY in the capital city Thimphu. At the dinner, she thanked the team for their work and invited them or other Operation International teams to return to the nation.

Care Worth Traveling For

Another indication of the value Team NY brought to the country is the journey patients in Bhutan were willing to make to access the medical care. 

Many patients treated by Team NY at the hospital in Mongar, Bhutan traveled great distances and overcame logistical obstacles to get the procedures. One family, due to a lack of accommodations in the small town of Mongar, stayed in the home of one of the local surgeons to ensure their child could have a cleft lip repair completed by Operation International. 

For the two cancer patients, Operation International’s medical mission actually eliminated the need for a costly journey. Team NY was able to provide medical care that local doctors were previously considering transferring the patients to another country to receive due to a lack of expertise in Bhutan.

Giving Children a Better Future

One of the common surgeries performed by Team NY during the trip was cleft lip and palate repair on 16 children.

Occurring in one out of every 700 births worldwide, a cleft lip or palate can put children at greater risk for malnutrition, poor health, and poverty. But despite the ability to repair the birth defect, travel costs and other barriers make it so many people in low-and middle-income countries do not get the surgery until later in life if at all.

Thanks to Team NY, 16 children in Bhutan have overcome these obstacles and have a chance at a healthier future. 

Thank You for Making It Happen 

Every life-changing procedure completed by Operation International’s teams is thanks to your generosity. The continued support means the world to the patients who are treated and will have a lasting impact on the countries where they live. Thank you for making our work possible!