By Shermakaye Bass
Fara Foundation editor
— Albarella, Italy — At Fara Clinic in Matagalpa, most people just call him “Doctor Freddy.” He’s affable and easy-going, always professional, beloved by many. As our medical director and chief physician, he takes care of hundreds of Nicaraguans each month while making sure things run smoothly at the clinic.
But our Dr. Freddy Espinoza, born in Ciudad Dario, Matagalpa, is making his international debut this weekend in Arabella, Italy — at the sixth annual International Inter-university Meeting in Phlebology, Lymphology and Aesthetics: From Empiricism to Evidence-Based Science. In plain speak, that’s a gathering of vein specialists from around the globe who convene to discuss and present papers on venous and lymphatic diseases. The event is coordinated this year by Fara’s dear friend Dr. Sergio Gianesini, who is responsible for our invite to Italy.
As a Rotary Italy Global Grant awardee, Dr. Freddy is giving a presentation today titled “Fish vs Fishing: Ulcer Management in Underdeveloped Settings.” The paper summarizes how Fara Foundation, Fara Clinic and Amigos de Salud/Dr. Nick Morrison (our steadfast partner in varicose vein brigades) have made huge strides in treating Nicaraguans who suffer from the debilitating disease, which is caused by poor or compromised circulation. In his presentation, Dr. Freddy gives a timeline of Fara Clinic’s focus on venous disease — from the first brigada sponsored by Fara Foundation, with Dr. Steven Reeder leading (2010), to our first hosting of Amigos de Salud and Dr. Morrison in 2012, up through our most recent (and largest ever!) brigade in Matagalpa, late July.
Over the past few years, Fara Foundation and Amigos de Salud’s medical missions have been greatly enhanced by the attendance of acclaimed international surgeons Dr. Lorenzo Tessari, Dr. Giovanni Mosti and Dr. Sergio Gianesini, all of Italy. These gentlemen and many of their Italian colleagues dedicate time, energy, money and expertise to helping improve the quality of life for families in Nicaragua, bringing equipment and supplies each time they arrive. (Note: Most readers who follow this blog know that our patients are hard-working people — coffee farmers, day laborers, working mothers, abuelas and abuelos — who struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, much less pay for medical care.)
These brigades literally save lives. As Dr. Freddy points out in his “Fish vs. Fishing” presentation, our international teams have treated more than 10,000 people in the past seven years. Yes, 10,000, just for vein treatment. That doesn’t factor in our clinic’s programs for cervical and breast cancers…
And it is because of our dedicated friends in the healthcare field that Fara and Dr. Freddy have this fantastic opportunity to represent Nicaragua and Latin America at such a prestigious conference. Thanks to Dr. Gianesini for initiating the Rotary Club Rovigo grant that not only enabled Dr. Freddy to travel to the conference, but that secured donation of a radio-frequency machine for our clinic.
Additionally, this opportunity exposes our entire staff to worlds of expertise, through contact with some of the most renowned phlebologists and wound-care specialists on the planet! Also during his trip to Italy, Dr. Freddy has had the chance to train with Dr. Gianesini at the University of Ferrrara and with Dr. Tessari at his practice in Verona. (And — it seems that our man in Italy is the only representative from Central America at the International Inter-university Meeting in Phlebology, Lymphology and Aesthetics.)
“I’m so excited and so happy,” Dr. Freddy told us last week as he was preparing to travel overseas. “This is an international meeting with doctors of the highest level who have worldwide recognition. Not only will I be representing Fara Clinic, but I will also be representing my country.”
This is a great point of pride for us at Fara Foundation. Since Dr. Freddy joined our staff in 2012, he has become something of an expert on varicose vein disease treatment and the potentially life threatening ulcers that can develop if they go untreated — whether that treatment be compression methods, foam injections, radio frequency, laser or other procedures.
Nicaraguans in general, and our clinic in particular, stand to benefit greatly from Dr. Freddy’s trip, and our fearless leader couldn’t agree more.
“In my opinion, this is an opportunity for me, for our clinic, but mostly for our patients. So far I have been learning during the last five years bout venous disease, diagnosis and treatment through these medical brigades. This means I have clinical experience, but now, by attending the conference in Italy, I can strength this experience from the academic and scientific perspective.”
From all of us at Fara Foundation, we’ll never have the proper words — “big” enough words! — to express our gratitude for all you’ve helped us accomplish, and for all whom you’ve helped. Our sincerest appreciation goes out to Doctors Reeder, Morrison, Mosti, Tessari and Gianesini, Rotary – Rovigo, Italy and Rotary – Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Also, let’s not forget our devoted staff back home in Nicaragua: Dra. Ruth Rocha, Dra. Flavia Soza, Dra. Jammy Corrales, Lic. Martha Castro, Lic. Maria Teresa Donaire, Rosibel Blandòn, Yara Espinoza, Lucy Guzman. We love you!!