Sidra Medicine's Surgery Department crosses major milestones with a series of complex surgery successes

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Following the successful opening of its inpatient facility in January of this year, Sidra Medicine is ready to accept and conduct highly complex surgeries in Qatar. A major milestone for the growth of the country’s healthcare system, the world-class expertise now available at Sidra Medicine means that fewer patients will need to travel abroad to receive expert care for rare and complex conditions.

“This is a landmark moment for many young patients in Qatar and the region as more families in Qatar have entrusted the care of their children to the experienced team at Sidra Medicine, choosing to forego treatment abroad for the same level of care. The facilities, surgeons and multidisciplinary teams supporting them are on par with any of the world’s top children’s hospitals. Our facilities are able to treat patients right here at home, meaning less burden on the family and the country and a more comfortable, culturally-sensitive environment for the patients,” said Dr. David Sigalet, Chair of the Department of Surgery at Sidra Medicine.

A recent complex neurosurgery at Sidra Medicine was performed on an 18-month-old patient named Mona who suffered from a brain tumor that impaired her vision and slowed down her responses. Dr. Khalid Al Kharazi, the Division Chief of Neurosurgery, lead the seven-hour surgery to remove the tumor.

doctor with patients

As a result of the care provided by Sidra Medicine, Mona was discharged just three days after her surgery. “To see our little girl fully recover from the crippling side-effects of the tumor in just a matter of days is a testament to the excellent quality of the facility and the people at Sidra Medicine. We are incredibly grateful to them for the care and attention they provided every step of the way. We are also thankful to the Government of Qatar for the world-class services that are available for the benefit of the people in Qatar,” said Mona’s father.

child with doctorsAnother parent, whose son recently had follow up neurosurgery with Dr. Al Kharazi at Sidra Medicine, said: “I am truly thankful to the country’s leadership for opening such a medical facility here in the country – it has really impacted our decision to stay and seek my son’s treatment here. I used to take my son to the UK for surgery but it makes all the difference knowing that Qatar has a specialized medical team who are equally knowledgeable and highly skilled. More importantly, they understand our culture and that I am close to my family. I was very happy with the care my son received at Sidra Medicine.”

Commenting on the surgeries, Dr. Al Kharazi said: “These surgeries were the first of their kind being performed in Qatar as we used the cutting-edge equipment including neuro-navigation and the cavitron ultrasonic surgical aspirator (CUSA). Such equipment is considered the best in the neurosurgery field. However, what truly makes our care stand out is our talented team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatric nursing teams, radiologists and the support from our rehabilitation and pathology services. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing the smiles on the young children as they embark on their journey of recovery under our care. This would not be possible without our highly skilled and caring teams and the support of our leadership in ensuring that we have access to the very best technologies and services.”

Dr. Al Kharazi was supported by a multidisciplinary team of children’s specialists, including visiting Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Noor ul Owase Jeelani from Great Ormond Street Hospital in the UK who was named one of the top British Surgeons in 2011 by The Times magazine. Dr. Noor remarked that, “I have had the pleasure of working with an extraordinarily talented team, having the latest technology and best talent by my side to help ensure the success of highly complex brain surgery. As the work flow builds up, we are undertaking more and more complex operations successfully here. I would not hesitate to recommend Sidra Medicine to some of the children that have travelled about previously UK from the region.”

The Sidra Medicine surgeons have established a reputation for pioneering cases and are considered leaders in their fields across many surgical subspecialties. They have made landmark contributions to the way rare and complex diseases are treated around the world. Among them is Dr. Joao Pippi Salle, Sidra Medicine’s Division Chief or Urology, who has recently published a paper in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association on a pioneering procedure to treat bladder extrophy — a congenital anomaly that most notably involves protrusion of the urinary bladder through a defect in the abdominal wall.

Dr. Pippi Salle is one of the world’s few experts who specialize in treating this anomaly and the creator of the Pippi Salle procedure that corrects urinary incontinence in children. As a result, Sidra Medicine is now the referral center for the treatment of this anomaly recommended by the American Bladder Exstrophy Association with Dr. Pippi Salle performing the surgeries in Qatar. Working beside him are two colleagues from Sudan who will take their new skills to patients in their home country when they return at the completion of the program.

Sidra Medicine’s Peter Morris added: “I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished in such a short time, always keeping the focus on the needs of women and children in Qatar. To that effect, we have also opened the Children’s Emergency Department that adds capacity to the care of true emergencies in Qatar.”