Saturday, November 23, 2013

Helping the Blind to See: More Miracles from the IDF in the Philippines

Pterygia  is a disorder among people with exposure to sunlight and wind.  Farmers, fishermen, and people living near the equator are often affected. This non-cancerous growth starts in the clear, thin tissue of the eye, and if untreated, can cause blindness   This week, the  Israeli medical delegation in the Philippines has managed to restore the eyesight to four people who were blind as a result of pterygia.  The delegation originally did not have the proper instrumentation to treat this disorder, but classic Israeli ingenuity prevailed.  Existing surgical instruments were modified and adapted successfully in an effort to treat these patients.  Read about it here

As of today,  2452 patients have been treated in the IDF Field Hospital. Over a third of them have been children.  52 surgeries have been performed.

Visit  the IDF in the Philippines web page for live updates on Israels' the humanitarian mission, or follow them on twitter, using the hastag  #IDFinPhilippines

Julie Pearce is a  nurse from Duluth  who ventured to the Philippines, in the hope of aiding the typhoon victims. Instead she joined the IDF field hospital.  She writes of her experience here:

What we have found is that we are treating fewer and fewer medical conditions related to the typhoon. We have seen a good share of septic wounds improperly cared for, post-typhoon in unhealthy living situations, as well as undiagnosed fractures. My day was spent splinting and sewing up several people, mostly injuries from the cleanup and the random girl who fell out of a coconut tree.

The IDF has essentially turned a developing world, rural hospital into a fairly modern-day medical facility in just 48 hours, all in the context of a major disaster. They have integrated electronic records, ultrasound, digital X-ray, a fairly sophisticated laboratory, an active surgery suite and incredible medical staff with varying specialty backgrounds. I’ve been mainly working with the orthopedic specialists and surgeons. We have been treating a lot of septic wounds, fractures and fresh wounds from falls, motorcycle crashes and — particularly — soft-tissue wounds sustained in the process of the local residents’ cleanup efforts; machetes, axes, things falling, the list goes on.

These specialists are also offering treatment for chronic conditions that the rural health system here would never have been able to support. A woman with stage 4 breast cancer that was eating through her breast tissue had a mastectomy performed. A man’s mouth tumor was treated and much more. These lives saved may, in a small way, offset some of those tragically lost. For a patient pre-typhoon, these would all be fee-based hospital visits; fees that most in a lifetime would never be able to afford.

The IDF in the Philippines. One more reason to be a proud Zionist

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