After a grueling 38 hours journey, leaving JFK in a blizzard, ISMS TEAM ENT arrived in Cavite in the Southern Louzon province of the Philippines. Our team was met with a deluge of giant thyroid tumors and head and neck pathology. Our ENT Head and Neck Surgeons faced some of the largest goiters we had ever seen and we were challenged with many thyroid cancer cases.
On the flight back from Guatemala City I looked around the cabin and saw the 17 exhausted members of Operation International Team ENT. After a week of treating nearly 350 patients and running 3 operating rooms and performing nearly 80 operations, our team was tired but fulfilled. We had just completed our third mission and this year the gravity of the surgical cases and complexity of the operations were more prevalent than in the past. The thyroid and neck pathology was intense. Maria (see pic below of woman standing between 2 people in scrubs) who’s large compressive thyroid cancer was involving her jugular vein, underwent a 4 hour operation to eradicate her right neck disease.
It was Tuesday and surgeries had already been underway for a day and a half. Screening of patients officially ended on Saturday however we continued to evaluate and treat patients in between operations. Dr. Ciecko had just finished removing a parotid tumor when he was pulled aside. An elderly women had traveled 3 hours after hearing that the head and neck surgeons were in town. She had a right sided large thyroid goiter that was compressing her trachea and swallowing tube. Her daughter pleaded with tears in her eyes to help her mother. She stated that the doctors there had turned her away. As a last minute decision she was added on for surgery the following day. On Wednesday she underwent a thyroidectomy that removed the tumor from her neck and below her sternum. She recovered the following day and returned to her village with a open airway and improved swallowing thanks to TEAM ENT.