Ronald Oconer, DO
Ronald Oconer, DO
Anesthesiology · Harvard, IL

Dominican Pediatric ENT Mission @ ILAC Center

October 6th
Santiago, Dominican Republic

Project Description

We plan on doing around 150 tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and myringotomy tube placement surgeries on Dominican children from rural communities with limited access to ENT care. We also will see about 300 kids in clinic as well as fitting some for hearing aids.

Population Served

Our work will benefit children from rural communities with no access to ENT care. Many suffer from frequent tonsillitis and/or sleep apnea and receive monthly antibiotic shots which are ineffective. Children with hearing loss are often excluded from school and shunned by their communities who often believe they are not intelligent.

Expected Impact

The closest pediatric hospital can only do about 90 tonsillectomies per year while our group will do about 150 in 4.5 days! This gives these children the ability to sleep and eat better post tonsillectomy which improves their ability to thrive physically as well as academically. By fitting kids with significant hearing loss with hearing aids, they are given the opportunity to go to school and become productive members of their communities.

Trip Photos & Recap

After a year of preparation, we had another successful surgical mission. With the help of the local "cooperadores de salud" (health cooperators), our patients were screened in their communities and travel was arranged to our center. They were housed there the night before and the day of their surgery to watch for potential complications.

Our caring pre-op team was able to get each child ready for surgery as well as ease any anxiety by playing games before the child was taken to surgery amid the clapping and cheering of those in the room. We are grateful to all of the Dominican volunteers and Peace Corps workers who served as interpreters throughout the day.

Once in the OR, the surgical team performed 156 surgeries ranging from tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy to ear tubes and nasal surgeries. It was especially satisfying to see children who had been denied surgery the prior year due to illness or lack of space in our OR schedule. It was amazing to watch how safely and efficiently these procedures were performed without any major complications.
Post operatively, sore throats and tears were met with numerous hugs and popsicles from our PACU team. Grateful parents were reunited with their children before being brought to their rooms for the night. After the last surgery was completed, our equipment was inventoried and packed up for next year's trip.