by Lana Staheli
Dr. Mandeep Pathak, an orthopedic surgeon working in the Bayalpata Hospital in rural Western Nepal is no stranger to global-help.org. In a letter to Dr. Robert Yancey, an Orthopedic Surgeon in Gig Harbor, Washington and member of the Global HELP International Advisory Board, Dr. Pathak described his experience treating Nisha, a six year-old Nepalese girl.
Nisha had fallen while playing with her sister and, hearing her screams, her mother rushed to find her daughter holding her rapidly swelling leg. A couple of hours later at Bayalpata Hospital, Dr. Pathak determined that she had broken her femur, resulting in a significant separation of the bone. Because this type of fracture cannot heal properly with just casting, improper or insufficient treatment could have resulted in a permanent disability. Familiar with global-help.org, Dr. Pathak searched for information on how to treat Nisha’s injury and found the guidance he was looking for in Dr. Yancey’s “TIPS” sheet Management Of Pediatric Femur Fractures With A Single Semi-Rigid Retrograde Nail.
“I had to review the technique of inserting the Yancey nail [on] the website before the surgery,” he recalled shortly after the procedure. Thanks to the accuracy and accessibility of Dr. Yancey’s publication, Dr. Pathak performed the surgery successfully, and Nisha made a full recovery.
Dr. Yancey’s treatment technique was devised to implement common, inexpensive materials. The nail discussed in the “TIPS” publication and used by Dr. Pathak costs around five U.S. dollars, while alternative materials used in the West can be priced at hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. On top of using only economical materials, the procedure can be performed without an X-ray machine, greatly increasing its feasibility in low-resource areas.
Dr. Yancey’s publication is part of HELP’s TIPS: Techniques For Developing Countries. This series aims to provide a resource that allows entry, retrieval, and dissemination of creative solutions to commonly encountered problems. The straightforward, concise nature of these publications allow for ease of access and quick, direct application of each procedure.
This surgery was not the first time Dr. Pathak accessed materials from global-help.org; in fact, he described his experience using HELP resources during his residency, specifically when he was learning about clubfoot management.
“[Global HELP] has been a boon to surgeons like us,” he said, emphasizing the authoritative and accessible nature of HELP’s materials. “[The] publications have been useful and relevant in our setting.”
Dr. Pathak is grateful for the accessibility and effectiveness of Global HELP’s educational materials reaffirms the pertinence of the organization’s mission and its success in offering free, relevant, comprehensive medical information for all. Without Global HELP’s guidance, Nisha may never have walked without a limp.
For more information about Global HELP’s “TIPS” series, please visit https://global-help.org/products/tips-techniques-for-developing-countries/.
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