MD News?eastern loui

From the time they were in medical school, Gary Russell, M.D., and Susan Russell, M.D., associates in mily practice at Geisinger Medical Group-Nicolson and Mercy Tyler Hospital in Tunkhannock, thought about working in a developing country someday. They worked a little in underserved areas in the United States and enjoyed those experiences, but really wanted to reach out to those who had little or nothing materially. The practice of medicine in the United States became routine at times. Eventually, the satisction they had initially felt practicing medicine was waning, so they began pursuing short-term medical missions. In conjunction with the World Medical Mission, Dr. Gary Russell and Dr. Susan Russell have participated in missions in Kenya and Haiti. In addition to those missions, they have helped with outpatient clinics in Honduras and India.

Eastern Pennsylvania is extremely fortunate to have such talented and dedicated physicians in the region. Clearly each doctor is passionate, committed and embodies a philanthropic spirit. In addition, a common lesson was learned by each physician as a result of mission work: each gained a newfound appreciation for what is available, including modern equipment, sophisticated tests and an abundance of accessible medication. Equally important, the physicians each noted how fortunate they are in life as well as in medicine and all strive to incorporate mission work and giving back into their everyday lives. The region is grateful for the work they do and for allowing MD News to feature the missions they support.

According to Dr. Gary Russell, Working in developing countries has helped with advising patients on travel medicine. It has also helped with that occasional patient that returns with medical problems after travel from mission trips or exotic locations.

Walter R. DelGaudio, Jr., M.D., recently participated in his first mission to Burkina Faso, West Africa, the third poorest country in the world. During this mission, the group performed 41 surgeries and saw 650 patients with varied medical needs. As a result of the lack of equipment, Dr. DelGaudio performed procedures he hasnt done in the United States in 10 years. These conditions forced him to depend more on himself and his skills as a surgeon.

George W. Heffner, Jr., M.D., got involved in mission work as a result of the influence of his daughter, Danielle. She had participated in two missions and invited her ther to go along on the next trip. Dr. Heffner traveled with a group of students from the University of Virginia and The University of Texas to remote areas of Panama to bring health care to an indigenous population. His younger daughter, 17-year-old Emily, had gone too. Through his work with Global Brigades, Dr. Heffner examined and treated health problems in approximately 350 Panamanian natives over a one-week period. Some of the health issues he dealt with include worms, scabies, lice, protozoa and other parasites, as well as colds, diabetes, hypertension, eye and hearing problems. Besides the bonding experience with his daughters, 
Dr. Heffner believes mission work provides an opportunity for physicians to get away from the pressures of their daily lives and practices and do what we said we went in to medicine to do in the first place help people. Working with an indigent population and seeing their living conditions made Dr. Heffner more appreciative of his own blessings. He also saw happiness in people who, by U.S. standards, had little to be happy about.

Hal Bendit, D.O., is a mily practice physician at St. Lukes Macungie Medical Group, Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at St. Lukes Hospital Allentown Campus, and active in the Lehigh Valley as well as throughout the United States.

Absolutely. What the U.S. Congress decides for the national budget will have a direct effect on Medicare reimbursements for physicians and other health care providers.

Society has witnessed the destruction and devastation of Mother Natures wrath the earthquake in Haiti, the floods in Pakistan, the hurricane that devoured Louisiana and Mississippi, just to name a few. What people often il to translate is what the people in these regions must be going through at a time when their medical needs are high and their support systems inadequate. In addition to those who suffer natural disasters are people who live in underserved areas, particularly in rural and developing Third World nations. They lack the support structures, skilled practitioners, access to health care and the availability of medical supplies. MD News decided to take a look at the physicians who have conducted medical missions in many regions around the world. They have selflessly provided their time and talent to aid those in need.

Crystal Cunningham, M.D., is the Chief Surgical Resident at Easton Hospital. She is pursuing a career in global surgery, a developing discipline with a goal of providing access to quality surgical care in countries with limited medical resources. In addition to being part of a clinical team, Dr. Cunningham works closely with the private and public sector to logistically accomplish the daunting task of improving the public health of millions with basic surgical care, including C-sections, fracture reduction, trauma needs and abdominal surgeries. To allow extreme suffering of others, especially children, when we have the capability to make such a big difference is inexcusable, says 
Dr. Cunningham. She has dedicated much of her time during residency to becoming a diverse surgeon one able to provide care in settings with limited surgical staff and was also the chief sponsor of Global Surgery Week at Easton Hospital, a week dedicated to awareness of the need for aid in resource-limited countries. Dr. Cunningham encourages physicians to attend seminars, encourages friends and colleagues to attend and to extend the invitations outside the medical field to increase awareness of global surgery. She feels strongly that the real need is for sustainable health care personnel versus short and quick missions.

Pamela Q. Taffera, D.O., M.B.A., is the Associate Director of Osteopathic Family Practice Residency at Saint Joseph Medical Center in Reading. Since 2001, The University of Scrantons The Alumni Medical Council has been traveling to Haiti with alumni health care professionals and undergraduate students. 
Dr. Taffera has been a part of this team since 2009. During her first trip, Dr. Taffera experienced Haiti pre-earthquake and discovered people who suffered unimaginable poverty and lacked basic needs, including clean water, daily meals, a safe home, personal hygiene and education. During this same trip, Dr. Taffera fell in love with the people and the mountains of Haiti and vowed to return. One year later, Taffera arrived in Haiti six days after the earthquake. This time she and her team assumed the roles of pediatric and adult intensivists, caring for critically ill septic patients, many of whom were amputees and often the only survivors of their milies. When time allowed, the team went into the tent cities to find the critically wounded and ill. On her most recent trip, one year post-earthquake, the team offered 24/7 coverage for the rehydration center for chileastern louisiana mental health systemdren and adults suffering amidst the cholera epidemic. We were devastated by the loss of life we witnessed knowing this suffering was preventable, remarks Dr. Taffera. The time we spend in Haiti allows us to give back from all of the opportunities afforded to us by our undergraduate and medical educations.

Reflecting on her mission work in Kenya, Dr. Susan Russell remarks, In Third World settings one has to think about the cost of every test or procedure. As a result, we quickly learned to only order tests if they were really needed. Since our return to the U.S., we have tried to continue the process of more carefully weighing the necessity of various lab studies. Learning to practice medicine without all of the diagnostic modalities we have in the U.S. was also an interesting experience. It forced us to hone our bedside diagnostic skills. We trust that this training has also sharpened our practice of medicine in the U.S.

Dr. DelGaudio and his wife, a physical therapist who accompanied him, have always desired to help people and considered mission work for some time. It was a great chance to put our lives in perspective, Dr. DelGaudio says. They have nothing. They dont even have shoes! The little things make such a big difference to them. You get the feeling that theres an endless number of people needing help, but you can only help so many in the time that you have. This feeling left Dr. DelGaudio wanting to do more.

Dr. McLaughlin realized that the mission support hes provided is only the beginning. His goal is to establish a mission clinic somewhere and be able to support the region with education, medical assistance and more advanced surgical procedures. When asked why he continues to do mission work, 
Dr. McLaughlin says, It allows me to give back with no benefit other than knowing that I have helped someone in need. I feel that many of us, if given the opportunity, would do the same.

Jeff McConnell, M.D., is an orthopedic spine surgeon at OAA Orthopaedic Specialists. He is co-founder of the Spine Education and Research Foundation and Co-Director of Operation Straight Spine (OSS). Each year, for the past five years, the OSS team consisting of spinal surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and neuromonitoring technicians from the United States and United Kingdom travel to Kolkata, India. The team conducts screening and post-op clinics, performs surgery and teaches local surgeons about spinal diseases and surgical techniques. Specifically, Dr. McConnell operates on adult and pediatric patients with a variety of spinal disorders, including scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, tuberculosis, trauma and tumors of the spine.

US Healthcare Costs Rise 6.19% Over the 12-Months Ending February 2011 According to the S&P Healthcare Economic Indices

Maybe. If the surgeon has a history of surgical errors, he or she should be required to tell the patient about his or her sleep hours.

When he trained in India in cardiology, he used and reused catheters until they broke. Dr. Mascarenhas states, It was pathetic, but people could not get the necessary devices and died unnecessarily. It was very sad. In 2004, he started a pacemaker/defibrillator bank at the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai, India, where patients can get reused devices that are donated by funeral homes in Bethlehem, Easton and Phillipsburg after the mily consents. Dr. Mascarenhas says, Its time to give back. Unfortunately in India, visiting the hospital for low- and middle-class individuals is a very scary proposition. Care MD News?eastern louiexists, but its not high quality and its not affordable.

Approximately five years ago, William M. McLaughlin, Jr., D.O., vireo-retinal specialist at Eye Care Specialists in Kingston, PA, had his first experience with mission work. With the help of Lions Clubs International he went to Beijing, China, and worked with ophthalmologists there. He always had the desire to be involved in a mission and since returning from Beijing, that desire has continued to grow. As a result, 
Dr. McLaughlin has been to Burkina Faso, Africa twice with the Assembly of God Missions. While in Africa, 
Dr. McLaughlin examined and treated patients in a clinical setting, as well as in a remote village. He performed surgical procedures including laser treatment and ocular surgery.

Jonathan Goldner, D.O., is a primary care physician at Pocono Medical Center and Pocono Internal Medical Specialists Ltd. He has gone on missions with DOCARE International and participated in a mission to Guatemala during the writing of this article. This medical mission is offered through the cooperation of the Midwestern University campuses in Chicago, IL, and Glendale, AZ. Dr. Goldner provides primary care to individuals that have absolutely no access to health care in remote areas of Guatemala. DOCARE International establishes services in regions where access to medical care is unavailable. Teams of physicians work with local physicians to create a stronger support system. Once a clinic is established, DOCARE International provides periodic care to that area until local medical services are adequate. 
Dr. Goldner has gone on several missions to Guatemala. When asked why he became involved with DOCARE International, 
Dr. Goldner says, It means a lot to me to be able to help people. This is why I went into medicine. My involvement with DOCARE makes me appreciate what I have in life personally and recognize how much easier it is to practice medicine in the United States with all of the sophisticated tests, procedures and medications available here.

Dr. Saeed was a rewarding one. He plans to volunteer again whenever possible. That experience made me realize how lucky we are living in the United States with every possible resource and advancement in medicine, says Dr. Saeed. I learned to work in difficult situations with limited resources, which will help in my practice. Dr. Saeed, who practices at Palmerton Hospital, received a great deal of support for his mission including medications, dressing and surgery supplies from the Palmerton and 
Lehighton communities.

Yes. Patients have a right to know and request a postponement if their surgeon hasnt had sufficient rest.

Danish Saeed, M.D., Medical Director at Lehigh Geriatrics Associates in Allentown and Palmerton, recently conducted mission work in post-earthquake Haiti with Helping Hand. Although his specialty is geriatric medicine, Dr. Saeed practiced general medicine to aid the earthquake victims. Dr. Saeed worked on mobile clinics at different sites in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, providing treatments to patients with acute infections and chronic nonhealing wounds. 
Dr. Saeed had always volunteered at disaster situations during his college and medical school days, but had not done as much over the last 20 years. The experience for

Dr. McConnell got involved with this project because he wanted to give something back to the global community using his skill and knowledge as a spine surgeon. A smile on a patients ce returns a reward that words sometimes il to address, says Dr. McConnell. It is all the reward I need to keep involved with Operation Straight Spine. Performing complex spinal surgery under adverse conditions is challenging. Those challenges have enhanced Dr. McConnells technical skills as a surgeon and have made him realize how much he takes for granted in his own practice. His experiences with OSS have resulted in Dr. McConnell remaining calmer and becoming less upset with the relatively small problems in his daily life.

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Are you worried about the effects that the national budget debate and outcome could have on Medicare reimbursement?

MD News?eastern loui,MD News features twelve doctors in the Eastern Pennsylvania coverage area who provide medical care throughout the world including Kenya, Honduras, India, Guatemala, Panama, West Africa and in the U.S. regions having suffered Hurricane Katrina.

Goa-America Heart Foundation Inc. (GAHF), a not-for-profit organization, was founded by a group of Goan professionals successfully established in the United States and in India. The initiative is to create a cardiac center in Goa and to help individuals who cannot afford cardiac care. Daniel M. Mascarenhas, M.D., cardiologist with Coventry Cardiology Associates in Easton, founded the organization seven years ago, but the clinic only came to fruition in January 2009. GAHF has successfully established a cardiac outpatient diagnostic clinic in JMJ Hospital. These days, Dr. Mascarenhas spends more time as Chief Fundraiser, which is a very important role. The ultimate goal of the organization is to add a cardiac center in the same complex as the clinic. Since the clinic has opened, they have seen 2,000 patients.

During reflection on her days in Haiti, Dr. Taffera is reminded that to whom much is given, much is expected, and she embarks on each day with genuine love and energy to embrace her role in primary care medicine (and to plan her next adventure in Haiti)!

Although he didnt go to West Africa as part of Christian mission, the trip helped him see people as people. I see Christ in everybody and brought that back with me. I see my patients in the same way and not under special circumstances.

Dr. Bendit was a volunteer physician during a two-week mobilization in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS), a uniform branch of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. While in Louisiana, Dr. Bendit organized and managed Primary Care Strike Teams, comprised of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and mental health care workers. The group delivered primary care to shelters, churches, community centers and other outlets throughout the state. According to Dr. Bendit, Every physician on a daily basis, in his or her own way, gives something back to the community. His own experiences with the USPHS in Louisiana reminded him of why he became a doctor. After returning from the two-week mission, Dr. Bendit decided he needed to get involved in some small way to contribute his time locally. As a result, he participates in multiple activities that promote the mission of public health in Allentown through the Allentown Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps. He also organizes and oversees medical care for campers and staff at Camp PALS, a camp for kids with Down syndrome. I discovered through my participation in these activities that I absolutely get more than I give, says Dr. Bendit.

Dr. DelGaudio feels the mission work has made him a better man, doctor, husband and ther.

The intent of this article is to focus on the different missions as well as highlight the physicians who provide their services. All of these physicians share a common trait they are extremely humble. They care more about the work they do and not who they are. While there are many more physicians than featured in this article, presented are these 12 physicians and their missions.

No. This is personal information that has nothing to do with the surgeons ability to perform his or her job.

Not at all. The national budget outcome will not affect medical payment reimbursement to physicians and health care providers.

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