Providence caregivers join neurotrauma team for partnership in Bolivia

Dr. Barbara Lazio (center, pointing at scans) discussing a neurosurgical case with her team members and Bolivian counterpart, Dr. Gardeazabal.

Two South Puget Sound Providence caregivers volunteered to improve outcomes in neurotrauma care in Sucre, Bolivia. Neurosurgeon Dr. Barbara Lazio and neuro critical care nurse Francis Moore, RN, were part of eleven U.S. health professionals and seven Bolivian medical students volunteering with the Neurosurgery & Neurology Institute (NNI) of Solidarity Bridge.

The Mission trip, Nov. 6 – 11, was the beginning of a long term partnership with Hospital Santa Barbara in Sucre. Head trauma from traffic accidents, falls or violence is a pressing health care issue for Bolivia's public hospitals, often leading to death of disability.

This campaign is a special one for neurosciences. We have been meeting with our neurosurgery counterparts over Zoom for a few years. It was fantastic to see our colleagues in person and to see up close the challenges they are dealing with daily in caring for neurotrauma patients.

Dr. Barbara Lazio

The NNI team’s goal is to reduce death or disability from traumatic brain or spine injuries in the next few years. “Our hope always is that they eventually will outgrow their need for our assistance,” said Dr. Lazio, “We look forward to returning in the coming years to build on what we have learned this trip.”

Together, the international colleagues shared universal best practices and found areas for strengthening and collaboration.
A picture containing person, standingDescription automatically generatedFrancis Moore (right), RN, meeting with his Bolivian counterpart to discuss best practices in neuro critical care.

Volunteering as a nurse for neurosurgical patients at Hospital Santa Barbara in Sucre, Bolivia served a purpose greater than oneself; it was an unequivocal immersion to assist with delivering care and minimizing health disparities through education and practice improvement recommendations.

Francis Moore, RN

Dr. Lazio and nurse Moore’s volunteer work abroad represents the Providence Vision of Health for a Better World and is an expression of their dedication to the Mission.