In April, Barrow neurosurgeon Peter Nakaji and Phoenix radiologist Tobias Schifter visited the Lenin Fonseca Hospital to work with Nicaraguan neurosurgical colleagues and resident trainees. They delivered donated supplies, including an entire set of neurosurgical clips and appliers for treating aneurysms, a new high-speed bone drill, and a number of surgical tools. One patient, a nine-year old girl, had suffered a rupture from a brain arteriovenous malformation two weeks before and still lay in the ICU. Then, in a week of operating that included removing brain tumors from the skull base and pituitary, they successfully removed the arteriovenous malformation from the back of the young girl’s brain. “It was a complicated operation even for the US, but went gratifyingly well,” said Dr. Nakaji. The team included the head of Neurosurgery department, Dr. Eduardo Caceres. The patients treated on the trip all continue to make a good recovery from their surgeries.
During the trip, Dr. Nakaji carried out an extensive review of the educational and material needs of the program and met with key leaders in the hospital. “Everyone is on the same page,” Dr. Nakaji said. “We all have the best interest of the Nicaraguan people and Nicaraguan neurosurgery in mind.” Earlier in the spring he and neurosurgeons Curtis Dickman and Randall Porter shared their experiences and goals for the program with members of the philanthropic group Barrow Beyond. The next trip is being planned, but “there is a lot they still need. We are hoping to capture the interest of a compassionate donor. A little bit goes a long way in Nicaragua.”