The Higgins-Shaw Nepal Microsurgery Fund
It’s a particular joy when we collaborate with donors on a targeted program. One notable example: Dan Higgins and Maiya Shaw have brought state-of-the-art care to our partner hospital in Nepal by funding a reconstructive microsurgery initiative.
Reconstructive microsurgery is a highly technical field that transplants tissue from one part of the body to another using operating microscopes and precision tools. It allows surgeons to repair blood vessels and nerves less than 1mm in diameter, restoring function in patients who couldn’t be assisted with traditional techniques. But it requires specialized training and equipment that many developing regions don’t yet have. Five years ago, Dan and Maiya established the Higgins-Shaw Nepal Microsurgery Fund with the goal of making microsurgery a standard technique in the region.
ReSurge has worked in Nepal for over 30 years with Dr. Shankar Rai and the Kirtipur Cleft and Burn Center. Now thanks to the Fund, Kirtipur Hospital is Nepal’s microsurgery hub as well — difficult cases from the region are now regularly transferred here. They have a full team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who care for these cases independently, one of only three ReSurge partner hospitals in the world who can do so. They have also become a training hub for microsurgery, with a new hand fellowship that features a large microsurgery component. We’ve even sent Surgical Outreach Partners from other regions to Nepal for training in microsurgery, to begin bringing these techniques back to their home countries — our first visiting surgeon was Dr. Oumar Coulibaly of Mali. The latest group of Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWRS) visited for training as well.
The increase in microsurgeries has generated additional revenue for the hospital and its growing international prominence in this field has attracted the notice of other organizations as well. The American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) now funds one visiting professor to Kirtipur Hospital each year, ensuring that the teaching program will continue beyond the generous Higgins-Shaw funding.