Issaquah doctor helps women in Bangladesh

Issaquah urogynecologist Dr. Julie LaCombe traveled to Bangladesh from April 19-26 with Drs. Tracy Capes and Nabila Noor, a midwife, a nurse and an anesthesiologist and performed 25 prolapse procedures in three days.

Dr. Nabila Noor

Dr. Nabila Noor

Imagine living your life with an organ the size of a grapefruit, that should be inside your body, hanging outside instead.

Millions of women in Third World countries suffer from utero-vaginal procidenta, or prolapse, where the woman’s uterus falls outside of their body.

Issaquah urogynecologist Dr. Julie LaCombe  traveled to Bangladesh from April 19-26 with Drs. Tracy Capes and Nabila Noor, a midwife, a nurse and an anesthesiologist and performed 25 prolapse procedures in three days.

“We operated from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day,” LaCombe said. “Seventy-five women showed up. We need to go back.”

The area they visited has a population of approximately 1.6 million.

LaCombe traveled with A Stitch in Time, an organization founded by Capes. The two doctors became friends through the close-knit group of urogynecologists in New York.

This was LaCombe’s first time to Bangladesh, but she has been to Honduras, Ecuador, and Bolivia on international missions when she was a medical resident. In turn, she mentored five resident physicians while doing her fellowship at the University of Vermont. She said Stitch in Time has done international work for years.

Genetics, poor nutrition and childbirth contribute to the problem, but also the fact that the women often work in a squatting position, which leads to stretching and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, so the uterus slips down and protrudes.

“Plus they chew betel leaf, which is like a tobacco, which damages collagen, a major support for pelvic structure,” LaCombe said.

Patients with the condition can develop urinary retention or kidney failure. Also, husbands often leave them, beating them and accusing them of adultery.

Just getting there to help is difficult. LaCombe flew from Seattle to Dubai, then Dubai to Dhaka, Bangladesh on Emirates airline. From there, a seaplane, Flying for Life, took the team to the one of two floating Friendship Hospitals, also donated by Emirates, in northern Bangladesh. The entire journey takes three days. LaCombe said Emirates (airline) allows customers to donate frequent flyer miles to help pay for the doctors’ trips.

“Northern Bangladesh has a lot of large sandbars where they (the people) set up small communities until the sandbars go away, then they move,” LaCombe said.

The travel is so difficult that Stitch in Time is now the only group going to Bangladesh to perform these procedures.

The ship had two operating rooms and a post-op area. The team only had to pay for their room and board on a dormitory houseboat behind the hospital, and antibiotics for the patients, which she said were inexpensive in Bangladesh.

If you’d like to help Stitch in Time visit www.astitchintime.org.


From left,  Dr. Tracy Capes, Dahlia White, Dr. Nabila Noor and Dr. Julie LaCombe perform a surgical procedure on a patient in Bangladesh to repair a uterine-vaginal procidenta.

The floating Friendship Hospital in Bangladesh was donated by Emirates.


 


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Stock photo
State AG Ferguson leads effort supporting local journalism

Federal legislation offers tax credits to subscribers, businesses and news organizations

C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord airstrip (courtesy of United States Military)
King County councilmember proposes program to aid transition of Afghan interpreters who served the U.S. overseas

Program would provide job training and learning opportunities for Afghan interpreters and advisors.

Vaccinations taking place. File photo
Inslee: No ‘massive disruptions’ as worker vax rates hit 90%

A surge in vaccinations has eased concern about service slowdowns ahead of a Monday deadline.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (file photo)
Lambert removed from King County Council leadership roles

Lambert received backlash after her campaign used flyers that depicted her opponent as a puppet.

Union members picket in front of new Facebook campus in Redmond on Sept. 16 (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Northwest Carpenters Union members vote to accept contract with AGC

The agreement comes after weeks of striking.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (file photo)
After doubling down on “racist” flyer, Lambert publicly apologizes

Apology encouraged by King County Council colleagues.

Pixabay image
School psychologist among three charged with immoral communication with a minor

Redmond detectives conducted an online predator sting using fake profiles.

Lambert’s flyer depicting her opponent, Sarah Perry, as a “socialist puppet” (tweeted by KC Councilmember Girmay Zahilay)
Local leaders denounce Lambert’s political flyer, endorse her opponent

Some have said KC Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s flyer was racist and offensive.

Courtesy of King County Police Officers Guild
Office lacks power over King County law enforcement in misconduct investigations

Director Tamer Abouzeid presents OLEO annual report to law and justice committee on Tuesday.

Most Read