In My Own Words: Dr. Wieland’s trip to Honduras

From March 3 to March 9, 2024, myself, Dr. McDonald, Dr. Liam Duffy, an otolaryngology chief resident, and a group from our Division of Otolaryngology traveled to Hospital Vincent D’Antoni in La Ceiba, Honduras. During our trip, we provided clinical care and training to people in Honduras.

In collaboration with Dr. Rigoberto Tabora and the staff of the Hospital Vincent D’Antoni of La Ceiba, Honduras, our team, which had members from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Chicago, provided care to approximately 200 Hondurans from the region. Dr. Mike McDonald has led this trip and collaboration over the last 20 years. Throughout the years, this trip has expanded to providing audiology screening and hearing aid distribution as well as medical and surgical care for otolaryngology illnesses.

We performed 30 surgical cases over a five-day period, including thyroidectomy for goiters and thyroid cancers, parotid surgery, endoscopic sinus surgery for advanced nasal polyposis, tympanoplasty and typanomastoidectomy for chronic otitis media and cholesteatoma, and removal of benign neck masses including lipomas and vascular malformation. Our patients ranged from young children with congenital malformations to elderly patients with neck masses and skin cancers. More than 100 hearing aids were distributed as part of a philanthropic effort from the Starkey hearing aid company. Additionally, we consulted with local general surgeons, surgical oncologists, and medical oncologists regarding head and neck cancer cases.

As a part of our trip, we trained local individuals on the performance of basic audiograms and the fitting and distribution of hearing aids. In addition, we assisted in training a local provider in ear cleaning using an office-based microscope. We also collaborated with a local high school for interpreter services and for training on the use of audiometers and hearing aid fitting. This group of students and faculty will continue to provide hearing screening and hearing aid distribution throughout the year.

We are grateful for the collaboration with Dr. Rigoberto Tabora, who screens patients prior to our trip and assists with their post-operative management.

Dr. Aaron Wieland is an Associate Professor in the Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.