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Creighton-Led Hernia Team Reaches Milestone of 1,000 Patients in DR

A Creighton-led medical team participating in its ninth annual trip to the Dominican Republic to repair hernias reached a special milestone on Nov. 8, when it completed its 1,000th patient surgery.

Each year, the medical team, led by surgeon Charles Filipi and anesthesiologist James Manion, both with Creighton Medical Associates, repairs about 125 hernias over a five-day period in November. The team of 40 - 50 people – about half of them from the Omaha metro area – includes physicians, nurses, medical students, technicians and others. They conduct a hernia clinic at a surgical center located at the Institute for Latin American Concern Center in Santiago. Using three operating rooms, the doctors perform hour-long operations beginning at 8 a.m. and ending around 5 p.m. each day.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished,” said Pat Manion, a retired surgical intensive care nurse who manages personnel and supplies. “The work that we do is really top notch.”

Pat Manion is married to James Manion, holder of the Sheila and James J. Shea Family Endowed Chair in Anesthesiology at Creighton University School of Medicine. The Manions, Filipi, and Filipi’s wife, Frances, a retired nurse, are among those who have made the trip all nine years.

Other local physicians involved in this year’s hernia clinic are Thomas Byrne, Robert Cusick of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and Henry Dethlefs of OneWorld Community Health Centers. Participants pay for the trip with their own money or contributions. Donated medical supplies are collected throughout the year.

The effort is one of many Creighton and non-Creighton service trips coordinated annually through University Ministry’s Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC) Office at Creighton University. The largest and oldest service trip by far is Creighton’s Summer Program, during which approximately 125 health care providers and students live in the Dominican Republic for a month while they provide basic health care services and live with local families. To learn more about Creighton’s ILAC program, visit www.creighton.edu/ilac.

(Pictured: Creighton-led team after performing 1,000th hernia surgery on 7-year-old Dominican girl.)