Urologists Liam Hurley, MD and Steven Previte, MD
and Audiologist Dierdre Anderson, Au.D., donate time and expertise
For many physicians at Holy Family Hospital, their commitment to community health care extends beyond the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire into small villages of countries where health resources and access to care are extremely limited. They donate their time and service to care for patients and share their medical expertise with local clinicians. Three well-respected physicians recently made their journeys overseas:
Seven-day mission trip with the non-profit group, IVUmed, an organization committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide. In fulfilling their mission, IVUmed provides medical and surgical education to physicians and nurses and treatment to thousands of suffering children and adults.
For their mission, Dr.’s Hurley and Previte traveled to Vietnam’s largest urology hospital, a 300-bed facility that serves adults and children from throughout the Hue region. The doctors performed approximately 20 surgeries, providing treatment for villagers with cancer, kidney stones and other urological conditions. They also provided medical training and critical decision support to the hospital’s medical team.
In Hue, Vietnam, the average life expectancy is late 50’s to early 60’s. “Most people have such limited access to health care as a result of where they live and their socioeconomic status,” explained Dr. Previte. “They don’t see physicians for decades and when they finally seek treatment, the disease is so far advanced that there is little hope for a cure.”
This was Dr. Hurley and Dr. Previte’s first mission. “It really takes you back to see how many people are afflicted with health conditions that are treatable and even curable,” said Dr. Hurley. “The conditions in which the physicians treat patients – the low quality equipment and poor working environment – make it immensely challenging to provide timely treatment. Yet, although their technology and even technique are significantly behind what we are able to do using minimally invasive procedures, it is remarkable how quickly and precisely they perform very complex procedures.”
The doctors also explained that the people of Hue are very proud and don’t often ask for help. “Towards the end of the trip, a resident was clearly struggling on a case and invited us to help,” said Dr. Hurley. “There’s this threshold where you earn trust and the right to be invited in to help. This was a pivotal moment. Now, months after returning, we continue to communicate with him by email.”
“If we are ever invited back it would be a privilege to go,” said Dr. Previte. “Everyone wants to be invited.”
Dr. Hurley resides in Andover, MA. Dr. Previte lives in Reading, MA. Their practice, Northeast Urologic Surgery, PC, has offices in North Andover, Haverhill, Salem and Derry. For more information: www.northeasturologic.com.
Seven-day mission trip with the non-profit group, Partners for a Greater Voice, an organization dedicated to advancing the deaf or hard of hearing child’s spoken language and education achievement in developing countries.
Dr. Anderson recently returned to a San Andreas school where 50 deaf students ranging in age from three to 20 attend. She had the opportunity to examine students she had treated and fit with a single hearing aid during her last mission and provided many of them with a second hearing aid donated by Siemens Hearing Instruments. New students were also treated and provided hearing aids.
“For these children, who are affected by a severe to profound hearing loss, use of a hearing aid allows them to learn and recognize sounds. The extent of their condition will never allow for speech clarity but the ability to decipher sound puts them in touch with the world,” said Dr. Anderson. “Having this new and expanded awareness of their surroundings also creates a safer environment for these children.”
While in San Andreas, Dr. Anderson also provided an aspiring Dominican audiologist with additional training so that he can continue to maintain the hearing technology for these children. “Even though I feel like I can’t do much in one week, it was extremely comforting to know that there is an audiologist there to help these children between missions,” expressed Dr. Anderson. “I’ve maintained contact with him over Facebook and we continue to work together for the benefit of these children.” Dr. Anderson, audiologists who participated in this program and Partners for a Greater Voice have successfully secured funding and permission for this aspiring audiologist to join them at a conference in Boston this spring.
“It’s truly inspiring to see how happy these children are despite their disability and the poverty conditions they live in,” explained Dr. Anderson. “Seeing the smiles on their faces when they could hear their surroundings was just amazing. I know I’ve changed their lives for the better.”
Dr. Anderson resides in Hampton, NH and her practice, Audiology Network Services has offices in Methuen at Holy Family Hospital as well as Salisbury, MA. For more information: www.audiologynetworkservices.com.
About Holy Family Hospital
Holy Family Hospital, a member of Steward Health Care, is a 261-bed acute-care hospital serving some 450,000 people in 20 communities throughout the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire, including Methuen, Lawrence, Andover, North Andover and Haverhill, MA; and Salem, NH. Holy Family is fully accredited and has proudly received the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission, the world leader in evaluating the quality and safety of patient care. For more information about the hospital's programs and services, visit www.stewardholyfamily.org.