BANFF, Canada — Hector Kay lecturer, Ellen M. Raney, MD, chief of staff, Shriners Hospitals for Children, described the challenges of improving the lives of the children in the Pacific basin at this year’s Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics (ACPOC) annual meeting here. Raney detailed the general problems she sees while visiting countries such as Samoa, American Samoa, Guam and the Philippines courtesy of the Shriners Hospital in Honolulu. Some of the more common problems she sees include fractures, burns, infections and clubfeet.
“Many of these improvement opportunities are personal, such as the way we treat patients,” she told the audience here. “This also includes system opportunities which we have been able to find ways for improvement. We get to take care of a lot of wonderful kids.”
With the influences of globalization there have been drastic changes in the diet and the lifestyle of the Polynesians. Diabetes and hypertension are now rampant among the adults, according to Raney. She described the health practices of various hospitals in the Pacific Rim. In Guam, their hospitals are fairly sophisticated, while other hospitals have far less equipment, education, staff and technology, requiring different treatment methods in areas where orthotics and prosthetics are not available.
“We have to give credit to these hospitals,” Raney said. “They actually keep a lot of these children alive despite high percentages of infections and burns,” she said. “It can get very complicated depending on where they live and where the child can go to receive treatment.”
Raney described some of the lessons she learned during her many trips to the Pacific Rim including establishing relationships and understanding the economic challenges of many different cultures.
“We try to listen and learn from our colleagues from each of these places and try to understand the best way to help them,” she said. “We also have to learn to start with small changes. If we can make a few improvements, it makes a big difference in a lot of people’s lives.”
For more information:
Raney, E. The joys and challenges of providing pediatric orthopaedic care in the vast area of the Pacific Rim. Presented at the Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics Annual Meeting. April 11-14. Banff, Canada.