International Café: Ever Considered Global Surgery? A Glimpse into the Life of a Missionary Surgeon

By Donn M. Schroder, MD, FACS, Governor, Midwest Surgical Association

American College of Surgeons

 

Malamulo Hospital, Malawi, Africa

Have you ever wondered what global surgery or missionary medicine would be like? Do you harbor reservations that global surgery might be too exotic or will have a negative impact on your family or career? As surgeons, we feel a calling to our profession that fulfills and defines us. However, we may become so entrenched in our career paths that sometimes it seems as though our lives are fixed and we cannot deviate off that path. Fortunately, there are opportunities for us to experience global surgery through others or, if we feel adventurous, to plan a short trip into this world.

Recently, I had the chance to interview a general surgeon, Ryan Hayton, MD. Since completing residency in 2010 at St. John Hospital in Detroit, MI, he has committed himself and his family to missionary surgery in Africa. Dr. Hayton enjoys the scope of practice that general surgeons in the U.S. had 50 years ago and performs abdominal, thoracic, urologic, gynecologic, orthopaedic, vascular, and trauma surgery. In addition, as an assistant professor for Loma Linda School of Medicine, he trains U.S. medical students and surgical residents who wish to do a global surgery elective where he works at Malamulo Hospital in Malawi, Africa. He also is the program director for the Malamulo-Pan-Africa Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) General Surgery Residency to train African surgeons. He hosts trained surgeons from around the world to experience the rewarding life that he pursues. This interview will give you a glimpse into the world of global surgery. Perhaps you will feel the call yourself to serve on an international level.

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