Surgeons Finish New Training Program at HAH

two men in hospital scrubs

The Hôpital Adventiste d’Haiti (HAH) Global Orthopedic Surgery Fellowship recently graduated its first two surgeons, Dr. Conor Spady and Dr. Isaac “Zaco” Archelus.

two men in hospital scrubs

Dr. Isaac Archelus and Dr. Conor Spady our recent fellows. In the U.S., a fellowship is optional training after four years of college, four years of medical school and five years of orthopedic surgery residency. In Haiti, the training process consists of six years of medical school, one year of social service and four years of orthopedic residency.

The Global Orthopedic Surgery Fellowship at HAH, endorsed by the Office of Graduate Medical Education at Loma Linda University (LLU), provides experience applying modern surgical techniques to a challenging and unusual variety of cases not typically seen in North American hospitals. The priority is on trauma and pediatric orthopedics. Motor vehicle accidents and urban violence account for most of our trauma cases. We also see a lot of children with treatable disabilities, including clubfeet and other congenital anomalies.

Dr. Conor Spady, who finished his orthopedic surgery residency at Loma Linda in 2022, just finished an additional year of training at HAH. His time here was a rich learning experience for him as well as the orthopedic residents from the U.S. and Haiti who do rotations at our hospital. Dr. Spady had hands-on experience with trauma and pediatric orthopedic cases, including limb lengthening and deformity correction.

group of doctors and nurses in scrubs

Dr. Spady with our nurses, who were sad to see him go

During the year, we also visited Dr. James Appel at the Adventist Hospital in Liberia, where there were many unusual and challenging cases. Dr. Spady became an expert at intramedullary nails for treating fractures using the SIGN nail system, correcting limb deformities with the Taylor Spatial Frame, and doing high-quality surgery in a limited-resource environment. Dr. Spady is doing a second fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, this year before launching his career.

Dr. Isaac “Zaco” Archelus just finished a six-month fellowship at HAH. He was first introduced to HAH during his residency at HUEH, the state university hospital in Port au Prince, last year, when he did a rotation at our hospital. Dr. Archelus was an especially motivated and talented resident, and his desire to spend extra time learning and working with us was mutually beneficial.

Dr. Archelus’s surgical skills really blossomed while he was at our hospital. While some doctors in Haiti do fellowships in the United States or France, our fellows have the advantage of developing hands-on skills to treat the types of problems seen in Haiti, using modern techniques and technology adapted to the local environment. While spending time in another country can be valuable, learning techniques that rely on unobtainable resources is much less valuable than the training experience at HAH.

doctor fixing a fracture with a brace

Dr. Archelus confidently completes a Taylor Spatial Frame by himself.

Dr. Archelus was raised in Port de Paix, a small town on the north coast of Haiti with no orthopedic surgeons. Although many doctors are leaving Haiti, he is returning to his hometown with his wife and child. He will work at Beraca Hospital, which serves a large area in that part of the country. I look forward to supporting Dr. Archelus with the equipment, resources and mentoring he needs to successfully navigate the challenges ahead. 

Surgeons interested in volunteer work and anxious about the dangers of visiting HAH might consider visiting Dr. Archelus in Port de Paix (Port of Peace) to make a significant impact without undo risk to their lives. He has a great sense of humor and is a joy to work with.

Over the last few months with Dr. Archelus and Dr. Spady, I have “progressed” from being the chief surgeon to a scrubbed assistant, to running the x-ray machine and taking care of administrative tasks during surgeries. I am thrilled to see top-quality work done by my protégés at our hospital, in other parts of this country, and beyond.

a doctor makes a home visit to a young patient

Dr. Archelus, now in Port au Paix, visits a post-op patient at home to adjust her external fixator.

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