Mr Mutimer recently travelled to Bhutan as part of a needs assessment team for Interplast. Landing at the worlds 4th most dangerous airport made for some nervous flying but the team thankfully landed safely. Interplast currently do not run any programs in Bhutan, so the purpose of the trip was to establish whether an Interplast program would be useful.
Bhutan has expressed an interest in having an Interplast program in their country, not only for the valuable and life-changing operative procedures Interplast perform, but to take advantage of the teachings and knowledge to be learned from Interplast Surgeons, ensuring that the medical community of Bhutan can manage and sustain the work of Interplast, long after they are gone. The plan would be to upskill doctors, nurses and allied health staff in reconstructive plastic surgery. Hospitals in Bhutan are quite well set up but the services offered are very basic in comparison to Australia.
Many other organizations have “camps” which fly in, operate and fly out but Bhutan is looking for training so that their doctors have the capacity to manage injuries throughout the year, not just when international help is present.
Interplast would likely initially assist with hand surgery and small general plastic surgery. There is a strong need for both of these sustainable, entry level surgeries. Mr Mutimer witnessed a patient who had been mauled by a bear whilst picking mushrooms in a field – so it goes without saying that the presenting cases in Bhutan would be quite varied compared to most of the cases Mr Mutimer treats in Australia.
No visit to a country like Bhutan is complete without sampling the local fare – Keith found the food fascinating, extremely colourful and very different to Australian cuisine. He was taken out for dinner by a group of local doctors to an Italian restaurant who proceeded to run out of cheese. The solution? Close the restaurant! Not one to go hungry the group decided instead to dine on much enjoyed local fare. Keith found Bhutan a beautiful country with magnificent countryside (a hikers dream) – he hopes to return one day to hike and explore the country further.