While the World Pediatric Project typically holds an annual scoliosis clinic in St. Vincent in November, during the last visit, the number of cases proved to be overwhelming for the available time. As a result, an additional surgical scoliosis clinic was scheduled for early Summer 2017. As always, a team of students from Trinity School of Medicine joined the visiting physicians to learn and assist.
This mission allowed Trinity's students to work with a phenomenal team of specialists from renowned institutions from across the United States and the Caribbean. The group was comprised of: Kate Corbett, team leader and WPP senior program director; Pediatric Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steven Hwang; orthopedic surgery fellow, Dr. Andrew Vivas; adult orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Charles Woods; adult orthopedic specialist, Dr. Kirani White; pediatric anesthesiologist, Dr. Michael Schwartz; OR nurse, Jan Steinieck; neuro-monitoring specialist, Heather Greenberg; and physician’s assistant, Heather Keeney.
The day's case load had nineteen patients, with Trinity's students involved right away and shown by the visiting experts how the cases presented, what was to be remedied by surgical intervention (often spinal fusion), and the idiosyncrasies of each case.
Trinity student Shirley Samuel shared that, “This has been a huge learning experience. They explained to us angles of curvature and how they were measured. They also showed us the correction mechanism and its results.” Her colleague Jana Williams added, “Having looked at the images, I was able to put into context some things we'd learned conceptually. It was a great opportunity.”
As always, Trinity students were encouraged to ask questions and assist where appropriate. Shirley Samuel acknowledged that, “This kind of opportunity is so important. Today, I was able to see a team of doctors working together, instead of a single specialist working alone. It was great observing how they interacted, what skills that each bring, and how that impacted the flow of the work." Jana Williams continued, “Watching how all of these concepts that we’ve learned independently from books all come together, in that setting-- how the team worked together, worked quickly and seamlessly, it was a tremendous experience.”
While every World Pediatric Project Mission leaves a remarkable impact on the mission team, volunteers, patients, their relatives and Trinity students, all in, a full eight spinal fusions were performed. This gave this particular group of Trinity students a specific, focused insight that they are unlikely to forget any time soon.