In January 2017, members from CHOP’s Division of Urology traveled to Ahmedabad, India, to perform multiple, complex procedures to children in need. During their two-week stay, they collaborated with colleagues from hospitals across the globe to complete over 13 bladder exstrophy closures, two epispadias repairs, and participated in numerous other cases requiring a highly specialized team.
The group, led by Aseem Shukla, MD, Urologist and Director of minimally invasive surgery in the Division of Urology, spent the majority of their time at Civil Hospital, the largest public hospital in Asia, with 2,800 beds. There, the need for highly experienced care is great, and the team met with more than 80 patients and families who were previously operated on or referred due to the complexity of their cases. In addition to their stay at Civil Hospital, the team also spent three days operating at Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital in Nadiad, about an hour’s drive away.
Throughout the years, Dr. Shukla has been instrumental in helping to train Indian surgeons on how to continue providing Ahmedabad’s children with the same level of care offered in the U.S. long after the team leaves. He co-founded the project nine years ago and has been the Director and Organizing Chairman of the collaboration since. In addition, Douglas A. Canning, MD, Chief of the Division of Urology, has attended for four years and brings his expertise to the many patients who require it. This year’s CHOP team also included Jason Van Batavia, MD, Pediatric Urology Fellow, and Carolyn Fazzini, RN, BSN.
Together, they made up a broader group of medical professionals from India, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Uganda and China, as well as practitioners from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Sidra Medical and Research Center in Qatar.
Families come from all over the Indian state of Gujarat for treatment. Gujarat is about the size of South Dakota with a population of over 60 million, creating a demand for expert care. The hospital is at capacity at all times, and they see large numbers of patients comprising the lowest socio-economic strata in India.
As world leaders in pediatric urology, families rely on the knowledge and skills that the CHOP team offers. “Some waited for up to two days to be seen,” says Dr. Van Batavia. “I was particularly moved by the willingness of the parents to wait in one large common room so that their children could receive what they believe to be the best possible care. Despite the wait, every parent and patient was extremely appreciative of our time.”
Surgical/trauma nurse, Carolyn Fazzini, RN, BSN, can typically be found in 4 East, 4 South, or the Peri-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), but she was the first CHOP nurse who participated in this trip, making her perspective unique. “It didn't matter where we all came from — commitment to providing excellent healthcare for children who live with bladder exstrophy was universal,” she reflects.