Thu | Jan 27, 2022

Overseas medical mission offering muscle surgery

Published:Sunday | May 12, 2019 | 12:14 AM

Adults and children suffering from spasticity – a condition in which certain muscles are continuously contracted and that causes stiffness or tightness and can interfere with normal movement, speech and gait – will benefit from treatment, including surgeries, from May 13-17.

A medical mission headed by consultant physiatrist and rehabilitation surgeon, Dr Paula Dawson, of The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), and Dr Mark Gormley, paediatric rehabilitation surgeon from Gillette Children’s Speciality Hospital in Minnesota, USA, will be holding a workshop during the week, to treat children and adults with the condition by administering muscular phenol injection, performing non-selective dorsal rhizotomy surgeries.

In addition, there will be donations of “wheelchairs and braces” to allow patients to walk and position themselves better, said a press statement from Dawson last week.

Spasticity is usually the result of damage to the portion of the brain or spinal cord that controls voluntary movement.

This year marks the 10th year and the 26th medical mission visit to Jamaica, with the first phenol nerve blocks and rhizotomy surgeries in the island in 2009.

Lady Allen, wife of the governor general, is the official patron for the week of activities.

Since 2009, the Spasticity Management Medical Mission Workshop has been serving hundreds of Jamaicans with neurological diseases such as cerebral palsy, stroke, or spinal-cord injury.

The mission was conceptualised by the Organisation for Strategic Development of Jamaica (OSDJ) and executed through the partnerships with The University Hospital of the West Indies, Bustamante Hospital for Children and Gillette Children’s Specialty Hospital.

Its continued success has been tied to collaboration among the Ministry of Health, Bustamante Hospital for Children, the dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The UWI, Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, and Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also at UHWI, and Gillette Children Hospital in Minnesota.

The mission is held three times each year and more than 60 adults and children have received treatment each time.