In collaboration with Surgeons in Action


Team members: Pedro Sanchez (Team Leader), Simon Clarke (paediatric surgeon), Mario Polo (interpreter), James Brewer, Rafael Chavez, Joseph Sebastian and Nicole Robin (anaesthetist)


This surgical campaign was carried out together by the two NGO’s ”.Hernia International Foundation” and “Fundación Cirujanos en Acción It was meant for the treatment of surgical pathologies of abdominal hernia among the people of Ventanilla, a locality that belongs to the Regional Government of Callao, a district of Lima (Perú).


The Ventanilla Hospital provides services for a population of 800.000 inhabitants, and it is the only hospital open 24 hours a day. It has an intensive-care room, and another for reanimation and monitoring. There are 5 operation theaters, two of them prefabricated, and during the campaign one of them was reserved for urgencies. The surgical team was made up by 12 surgeons and 12 anaesthetists.

            This campaign was taking place for the first time in this hospital, and it lasted from Monday 19 September, to Friday 30 September. We rested on the weekend (24-25 September).Ten work days on the whole. The surgical team was made up by 4 general surgeons, 1 paediatric surgeon, and a lady anaesthetist, plus 2 helpers. Apart from one of the surgeons who was coming from Spain, the rest of the group came from England, although they were of different nationalities. We communicated in both English and Spanish.


Our work began at 6:30 hours. The trip to our work lasted approximately an hour and a half. We arrived at the hospital at 8 o’clock and we greeted the patients gathered for the day. At about 9 all the operation theaters were working with the first patients. Every day there were 20 patients programmed, and of them 3 or 5 used to fail to appear, and one or two were judged by the doctors not to be operable. The operations were on uni- or bilateral inguinal hernias, umbilical hernias and laparatomy eventrations (of them two patients with 2 protheses due to their size).

            The campaign was organized by the chief of Cirugía General in Ventanilla Hospital, Dr. Bernaola and his team, who all worked with us and helped us at each moment. They had a double motivation for this: to organize themselves as a group and to share work methods with us. Apart from the main objective of treating the hernia pathology of the patients, the secondary object of the Ventanilla surgical team was to pass from being a mere hernia intervention to a surgery to a residential treatment together with a surgical verification with a “check list”.


Summing up these were the figures: Before our arrival approximately 180 patients had been listed. We carried out 159 processes on 146 patients. There were a total of 4 patients who came to urgencies during the postoperational period, and they were diagnosed of seroma, while one of them had to have his wound reopened.

            The sanitary problem comes from the financial situation of the greater part of the Ventanilla people, and not so much from hospital access, as there is an excellent local surgical team. According to Dr. Bernaola and all the other workers, the experience was very positive, and they would like to have it repeated. On our part it was equally enriching and particularly surprising for the eagerness to help and to learn the all the local professionals showed.