After an amazingly successful Fundraiser in January 2024, Suzanne Caragianis went back to Bhutan in April for almost 3 weeks as a volunteer with Interplast Australia and New Zealand.

Our charity 'Helping Hands in Bhutan' purchased microsurgical instruments for Dr Sonam Jamtsho (Bhutan’s first Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon), and other medical equipment for both Dr Sonam and hand therapy.

Given the kind benefactors from our fundraiser at Dandelion, we have purchased 4 pressure garments for our burns patients and scar modifiers, vital for a successful outcome. This will help our patients young and old regain vital hand function, independence and a better cosmetic outcome.

While in Bhutan, Suzanne had successful meetings with: The new Minster of Health - Honourable Lyonpo Tandin Wangchunk; The Prime Minister – His Excellency Tshering Tobgay; The Director of National Medical Service – Dr Mimi; and The President of Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan.

Our goal is capacity building in Bhutan and supporting patient care and education of medical staff. The team operated on 53 patients and Megan Fitzgerald (Hand Therapist) and Suzanne worked with local therapists to treat over 120 patients. Their injuries ranged from crush, trauma, burns, fractures, amputations and even a dear lady who had been mauled by a bear!

We also saw lots of children with congenital deformities, which Dr Michael McCleave was able to successfully operate on many of them. We were able to teach 4 visiting therapists from the District Hospital, who were wonderfully enthusiastic and worked alongside our hand therapy colleagues Tshering Dorji and Kinley Tshering.

We plan a continuing education course with Alison Taylor (Certified Hand Therapist from USA) in November 2024, titled 'Treating without Pain', for local physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

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