University of Nebraska Surgery on Sunday: Omaha, NE, June 2016

UNMC Bellevue Charitable Hernia Mission 2016

The Surgery on Sunday model was used and after University of Nebraska Medical Center administrative approval and multiple organizational meetings a date was set, June 3.  Dr. Hans Dethlefs at the One World Clinic evaluated all patients pre-operatively and eventually we performed 11 hernia operations in one.  Dr. Sam Cemaj, Dr. Tiffany Tanner and Dr. Arika Hoffman performed the surgery.  Recovery was uncomplicated in the hospital and two weeks postoperatively the patients are doing well.

The facility is modern and very well kept and managed making patient comfort easily possible.



The Anesthesia staff, Surgeons and medical students who participated.  Dr. Cemaj on the left is the team leader.

A nice article appeared in the World Herald about a grateful patient who had made a good addiction recovery before undergoing surgery.  Thanks to Rosanna Morris, the CEO of Nebraska Health Systems for her generous support of the initiative.





Surgery on Sunday: Omaha, NE, February 2015

University of Nebraska HRFU Hernia Mission 2015

Through the auspices of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and with the help of Dr. Filipi 3 surgeons, Dr. Sammy Cemaj the team leader, Dr. Keely Buesing and Dr. Vishal Kothari and Dr. Allyson Hascal chief of Anesthesia performed free hernia surgery on 13 in need patients.  The patients had no Medicare, Medicaide, private insurance and all lived at or below 200% of the poverty level.  Dr. Hans Dethlefs, a family practice physician at the One World clinic, coordinated recruitment of patients from area free clinics and performed all pre-operative history and physicals.  Mrs. Penny Johnson RN, coordinated patient care at the medical center and communication between patients and physician offices.  Multiple administrative meetings were conducted which included Mr. William Dinsmore the CEO of the UNMC system.  The surgeons saw the patients pre-operatively in their clinic, confirmed the diagnosis and obtained informed consent.

On February 27 at the Bellevue Medical Center all patients with family members arrived early for admission and then throughout the day surgery was performed in three operating rooms.  Third year medical students participated and first assisting in the ORs.  All surgery was completed by 2:30 PM and no intra-operative or early post-operative complications occurred.

Patients will be followed in the surgeons offices, in 7 -10 days and at one year.  Below are pictures of the students and surgeons.

SoS_1 UNMC 2015

UNMC medical students that participated

SoS_2 UNMC 2015

Dr. Sammy Cemaj the team leader

SoS_3 UNMC 2015

Dr. Keely Buesing on the left

SoS_4 UNMC 2015

Dr. Vishal Kothari on the far left


The initiative went smoothly and the patients and families were well pleased.  A number of team said when are we going to do this again.

Surgery on Sunday: Omaha, NE, October 2014


                Inguinal hernia is one of the most common ailments known to mankind. When symptomatic it can severely affect the patient’s quality of life. Nevertheless, the vast majority of inguinal herniorrhaphies are elective and, therefore, not available to uninsured patients who do not have the financial wherewithal to pay for the operation. Using the Surgery on Sunday model developed in Kentucky, Hernia Repair for the Underserved (HRFU) developed a free clinic for hernia surgery at Creighton University Medical Center (CUMC) two years ago, based on institutional commitment to the poor as well as the volunteer efforts of medical students and hospital personnel at CUMC and Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha.

                Hernia Repair for the Underserved consulted with a local free clinic physician, Dr. Hans Dethlefs at the One World clinic in Omaha and the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) medical legal protection application was submitted and accepted. Under this law, all hospital credentialed volunteer professionals are medico-legally protected if the surgery is performed in an associated free clinic. Committee meetings to work out logistics of the pre-op clinic, the follow-up clinic, enlistment of other volunteers such as transporters, translators, housekeeping for the ORs, a pharmacist, registration personnel were completed. A memorandum of understanding with the hospital system was co-signed.  The organizing committee was chaired by Matt Kayl RN and director of the CUMC and Bergan Mercy operating rooms.


                                                   Mission Report

Fifteen patients were seen in the pre-operative clinic by Dr. Dethlefs.   Patients were operated upon using 3 operating rooms and a volunteer staff of 4 surgeons, 4 anesthesia personnel, 15 nurses, 3 surgical technicians, two translators, one instrument cleaner, a logistics coordinator, a housecleaner, a pharmacist and 7 medical students.  Three umbilical hernias were repaired, and 13 inguinal hernias were repaired including two chronically incarcerated hernias.

                The average OR turn over time was 31 minutes and there were no intraoperative or early postoperative complications.   All patients were discharged home by 6:00 PM.  Below are pictures of personnel and OR teams.

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        Margie from Housecleaning                Renee our instrument cleaner


PACU team with Pharmacist        

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       Our translators Isis and Samantha                Four of the medical students


                                           The room 7 team


                                                            The room 8 team


                                                                The room 9 team


                                            The Pre-Op Post-Op Team


        Janese Gerhardt with a well-deserved thanks from one of the patient families

Special Thanks:

            Hospital administration is complicated in modern times but finding the time and finances to assist the poor has always been a priority at Creighton University.  Mr. Kevin Nokels, the CUMC hospital CEO, Matt Kayl and Pat Townley are thanked for their support and work.  Janese Gerhardt RN contributed over 40 hours of time to prepare the patients and paper work plus work during all clinics and the operative day – Janese thank you!  Sharon Cyr RN contributed over 20 hours and was essential to the success of this initiative.  Dr. Hans Dethlefs worked all the patients up and coordinated care beautifully.   Thank you to Dr. James Manion and Theresa Keefe CRNA from the anesthesia department who have been intimately involved in over 20 humanitarian surgical activities and provide compassionate very high quality care that makes continued programs possible, and to Dr. Robert Fitzgibbons who has headed the surgical team and provided hernia surgical expertise that is almost impossible to match.  Finally to the many other devoted volunteers who have repeatedly assisted the poor and to the new volunteers who in fact made this initiative possible.