Paul Zanaboni, MD
Paul Zanaboni, MD
Anesthesiology · Des Peres, MO

Gynecological surgery at Loma de Luz

April 15th
Balfate, Honduras

Project Description

I am an anesthesiologist providing care for 30-40 impoverished women who need gynecological surgery at Hospital Loma de Luz in Balfate, Honduras. Dr Michael Steinkampf is the gynecologist. Without our services, these women will not receive life changing surgery for various diseases such as cervical cancer, extremely large uterine fibroids and vesicles-vaginal fistulas.

Population Served

The Hospital Loma de Luz is located ii. Balfate, Honduras. This is a very rural area in the impoverished state of Colon. Women travel up to 8 - 10 hours to come for this specialized care because it is not available to them at a reasonable cost anywhere in a 200 mile radius.

Expected Impact

I have been honored to participate in many medical missions throughout my career. Each mission is unique, but the impact of our presence has lasting results for these patients. In this particular case, one such operation is the treatment of Vedic-vaginal fistulas. These women suffer from continuous urine output via the vagina which causes great discomfort and embarrassment. Many of them have had symptoms for over 3 years. Our care is life changing for these women who otherwise would not be able to find such expertise in Honduras. In terms of my own growth, this mission will have a lasting effect on me because it changes the way I look at our health system. It inspires me to try to change our shortcomings so that people who fall through the cracks in our system can get the care they deserve.

Trip Photos & Recap

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the Dox Foundation for helping fund my mission trip to the Hospital Loma de Luz in Balfate, Honduras. I am an anesthesiologist from St Louis, MO, and I cared for patients who were operated on by Dr. Michael Steinkampf who hails from Birmingham, AL. During our two week mission , we had the privilege of caring for thirty seven women undergoing complex gynecological surgeries. The cases ranged from radical hysterectomies for cervical and endometrial cancers to vesico-vaginal fistula repairs and everything in between. Balfate is in the rural costal Honduran coastline. Health care in general is scarce, and complex gynecological care is mostly non-existent. As one could imagine, the women who need this care rarely have the opportunity to get it because the public health system is overwhelmed and these patients cannot afford the exorbitant costs in the private sector. It was our pleasure to serve this underserved community. As one woman told us, she had been continuously incontinent for 14 years due to her vesicles-vaginal fistula. She was tearful as she described how better her life is now that it’s been repaired.

On a personal note, this was my seventh trip to Honduras and my thirteenth overall mission trip. As always, when I arrived home I felt the same way as always - a little selfish. Why selfish? Because I feel as though I get more spiritually out of helping others in need than I give them. I know that it is a balance, but I am always humbled by the people who we serve.

Thanks again to the Dox Foundation for helping fund my visit.