July 9, 2012
Dear Mrs. Storz,
Nowhere in medicine are global disparities more striking than in surgery. I did not realize this until I began volunteering on medical missions in developing countries.
When I was in Chad in 2009, there was an anesthesia machine but no compressed gasses to make it functional, so we were unable to administer anesthesia even though the equipment was present. There were no functioning ventilators and no oxygen. At night, we performed emergency surgeries with head lamps as there was not enough electricity for lighting.
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, I shared a suction machine with the surgeon in the adjacent operating room. We passed the suction hose through a window between the two rooms. Everything that was intended for single patient use was sterilized and reused. The operating room light was held together by a large bandage and, in fact, it had been repaired by a visiting orthopedic surgeon.
Here’s a little about me. I am a gynecologist and surgeon with 25 years of experience. Four years ago, I started to organize medical missions. Last year, I formalized this effort into a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization called Worldwide Healing Hands. We partner with other groups and take surgical teams to underserved areas of the globe to care for women and children with little or no access to care.
This October, we will be traveling to a geographically isolated area of Eastern Nepal to perform surgery and train midwives. There has not been a gynecologist in this area for about three years, so women will be traveling from the surrounding areas for care. We have obtained permission from the Nepalese government to bring together midwives from other areas of Nepal for a week of intensive training.
We often encounter women with undiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding and we have nothing to offer them. A diagnostic hysteroscope would be invaluable in our efforts to help these women.
Many women do not want to have more children but have no contraceptive options. In fact, their lives are endangered because they are at increased risk for postpartum hemorrhage with the increasing number of births. An operative hysteroscope would enable us to perform hysteroscopic sterilizations and prevent maternal deaths. When a woman dies, her children are endangered and her community suffers without her hard work and positive influence.
The purpose of this letter is to request an in kind donation of a portable hysteroscope set-up that will be used on multiple missions. I have used your fine instruments for years and recently purchased a set for my surgery center. Your gift would change many lives for the better.
With your help, we can turn this vision into a reality. Thank you in advance for your consideration. Please feel free to call me to discuss this.
Paula R. Dhanda, MD, FACOG, FACS