The team needed to be a team that could service the climate of the operating theatre in Uganda whose members could survive each other for two weeks in austere and pressured conditions. Each member would travel 24 hours straight by air and shuttle to Mbarara. Team 2 was assembled by Dr. Shane Burch who selected Dr. Ronnie Mimran (Neurosurgeon from San Francisco); Dani Thayer (Scribe); Errin Dalzell (Hardware Rep); JP Clark (Neuromonitoring); & Hunter Dennison (Scrub tech extraordinaire).
Team 2 came together three months ago. Based out of San Francisco, the team quickly bonded and a plan came together to collect supplies and ship more than we could carry-on. The commitment of each member was identified early. A one day session to pack 26 containers of supplies to ship on a pallet and negotiate international shipping regulations ensued. Instrumentation, dressings, sterile gowns, and anything else associated with surgery was packed into the bins, loaded on the pallet and shipped in time to our destination.
We arrived in Entebbe with earnest. The night was moist. Our enormous duffel bag full of essential equipment could not be found. However the drama started well before we entered Uganda. Our entire shipment of medical supplies was delayed in the UK due to an incorrect shipping code. The pallet of supplies would not arrive until the mission ended. With the loss of our duffel bag we had no supplies to sustain our mission in Uganda. Arriving without equipment would doom the mission. The ride into Mbarara was long… rough… long… and filled with danger and we survived. Rolling into the hotel by 5:30am on Sunday, Shane and Ronnie immediately hopped on the bus with team 1 to head to the hospital to begin to learn about the patients, with the remainder of the team rallying supporters within Medtronic, FedEx, Crane, and Magno who pulled together and then sent a secondary shipment – and effectively crossed barriers to coordinate our entire pallet to arrive in time for all the major cases.