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Dr. Jimenez performs lifesaving surgeries in Central Asia

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 · Volume: XLVI · Issue: 15

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David F. Jimenez, M.D., FACS, (center) visits with relief worker Furhat (left) and one of Furhat’s family members about Furhat’s headaches, caused by hydrocephalus. Dr. Jimenez’s lifesaving surgery gave Furhat relief, so that he can continue to serve others through the international aid organization that brought Dr. Jimenez to Kyrgyzstan. Click on photo for larger view.
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David F. Jimenez, M.D., FACS, (center) visits with relief worker Furhat (left) and one of Furhat’s family members about Furhat’s headaches, caused by hydrocephalus. Dr. Jimenez’s lifesaving surgery gave Furhat relief, so that he can continue to serve others through the international aid organization that brought Dr. Jimenez to Kyrgyzstan. Click on photo for larger view. clear graphic

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By Will Sansom

David F. Jimenez, M.D., FACS, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in the School of Medicine and physician with UT Medicine San Antonio, has pioneered minimally invasive surgery to correct the head shape of hundreds of babies.

Since his arrival in San Antonio in 2005, Dr. Jimenez has also made headlines here and across the nation for his treatment of a baby with a severe case of hydrocephalus (abnormal fluid around the brain), a worker who suffered a severe trauma to the head from a heavy metal hook and other cases. These surgeries took place, respectively, at Baptist Health System and University Health System, two clinical partners of the Health Science Center.

Saving lives in Kyrgyzstan
In May this lifesaving surgeon took his rarely found skills to the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan on a personal medical mission to help families with children in need of his surgical expertise. While on this mission he met Furhat, a relief worker with Crosslink Development International (CDI). Steve Havener, M.D., who practices family medicine in Mission, Texas, and is president of Heal International Medical Missions (HIMM), provided an eyewitness report on the trip.

Furhat was having headaches, and an abnormal MRI showed that he needed surgery for hydrocephalus. Dr. Jimenez’s arrival dovetailed perfectly with Furhat’s need for surgery. “We are going to operate in two days,” Dr. Havener wrote in an email to HIMM colleagues on May 14. “David wrote the book (literally) on doing this neurosurgical procedure with an endoscope, which lessens the time of surgery and means Furhat will not need a shunt. He will likely only spend overnight in the hospital. Furhat is going to get surgery from a world-class expert!”

CDI worker receives surgery for hydrocephalus
Dr. Havener explained that Furhat is an invaluable jack-of-all-trades for CDI. “Per the team, ‘ask what he doesn’t do’ is a way to define his role there,” Dr. Havener said. “Furhat is a key man on the CDI team in Central Asia.”

“We will always be grateful to Dr. Jimenez for how he reached out to Furhat,” said Christy Wall, CDI project manager for the Medical Assistance Children’s Project.

On May 20, Dr. Havener wrote: “I just received an email from the team. Furhat is doing well. The other three children are also fine. The infant that had an encephalocoele (a rare type of neural tube defect) repaired by David is still in intensive care but will likely be out tomorrow.”

In a place half a world away from San Antonio, the School of Medicine’s chief neurosurgeon again left his healing mark.

 
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