Nicole Stoler, MD
Nicole Stoler, MD
Resident Physician · Houston, TX

Pediatric Otolaryngology Airway Surgery in India

May 31st
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Project Description

I plan to join my mentor since medical school, Dr. Deepak Mehta, Professor in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, where he has helped establish this program over fifteen years. We will be performing complex airway surgeries for the pediatric population in Bangalore, India at Manipal Hospital. In medical school, I worked with Dr. Mehta through CSurgeries to help organize the first annual International Pediatric Airway Symposium (IPAS). Proceeds were donated to organizations dedicated to furthering pediatric airway surgery educational opportunities and availability of free surgeries, of which I now have the opportunity for contribution and participation. Pediatric airway surgeries will include over 30 cricotracheal resections, laryngotracheal reconstructions, tracheostomies, balloon dilations, and more. The sponsoring organization, the Manipal Foundation, will provide clinical logistics and free care to these children. Patients can continue long term care with resident otolaryngology surgeons in the region. In preparation for the trip, in addition to growing my fund of knowledge on pediatric airway topics and surgical steps, my responsibilities include helping to gather materials such as stents, balloons, and vital equipment for the surgeries. My role while abroad will involve helping in patient assessment, optimizing pre and postoperative care, as well as assisting in surgeries. All surgeries will be recorded and utilized to continue to train local otolaryngology surgeons with the skills to carry forward.

Population Served

Manipal Hospital is located in Bangalore, India, the third most populous city with a metropolitan population of around 11 million. Families travel from all over the area, and local pediatric patients who struggle with airway pathologies and swallowing disorders will be of benefit for this free complex surgical care. My mentor and founder of this global health initiative, Dr. Mehta, received his Medical Doctorate from Mysore University in India, and makes it a priority to annually give back after his fellowship training in complex airway surgeries at Cincinnati Children's.

Expected Impact

This proposed trip will take place during the last month of my third year of residency in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. After completing my chief resident pediatric rotation at Texas Children’s Hospital earlier this year, I have solidified my desire to pursue Pediatric Otolaryngology. After the trip, I will be able to help edit the surgical videos for educational purposes and continue involvement with the IPAS. With your consideration, I will be able to help provide expertise, free airway care of high surgical volume to the pediatric population of Bangalore as well as make a lasting impact by continuing to educate local surgeons. Not only would this experience create global impact, but it would allow me to gain incomparable operative exposure in my subspecialty field of choice before the fellowship application process. I aspire to create connections with local trainees to exchange future opportunities. The relationships created, stories heard, and families impacted will only further drive my motivation to continue humanitarian work throughout my career, both locally to the underserved population in Houston through Ben Taub General Hospital as well as globally through hopefully many more medical volunteer trips around the world.

Trip Photos & Recap

This trip was an incredible experience providing free, complex, pediatric airway surgeries & evaluations to families who traveled from all around India. Within our week, we treated kids with grade 3 laryngeal atresia, tracheal stenosis, type 3 laryngeal cleft, subglottic stenosis, tracheal rings, and more. Surgeries included formal airway evaluations, laryngotracheal reconstructions, tracheal resections, open laryngeal cleft repair, balloon dilations, and more.

All surgeries involved live teaching and were recorded for training purposes. Local otolaryngologists also traveled from across India to learn more about pediatric airway management. Throughout the week, there were also lectures and panels on interesting cases, subglottic stenosis, stridor, dysphagia, obstructive sleep apnea, and more. These talks not only benefited otolaryngologists, but also local pediatricians who wanted to be more educated about these topics. This annual workshop emphasizes teaching local surgeons & trainees to cultivate a strong, local, pediatric airway & swallowing program.