Local doctor heads to Vietnam

GLOVERSVILLE – Dr. James Anania, an anesthesiologist at Nathan Littauer Hospital, was scheduled to leave Friday for Vietnam as a volunteer for Smile Train and ReSurge International.

Anania will assist people who need surgery and will join a team of three anesthesiologists, two plastic surgeons, a pediatrician, a translator and a team of nurses.

There will be two teams who will operate together in the same operating room. They expect to complete between 80 to 100 surgeries, a news release said.

Anania frequently volunteers his time traveling to underserved areas throughout the world, the release said.

“The cases we will complete will vary between four and five per team for a total of eight to 10 per day depending on severity,” Anania said in the release.

Anania said despite the exhausting schedule and challenging setting, he feels truly rewarded when he meets the patients and their grateful families.

“The family members are very appreciative. This is truly life-changing. These kids tend to be ostracized and these surgeries are a new lease on life for them,” he said in the release.

Anania is part of ReSurge International (formerly Interplast).

The organization works with Smile Train and other Non-Governmental Organizations “to restore the health and dreams to children and adults with deformities and injuries (such as disabling burns and clefts) so they can go to school, return to work to care for their families and be productive members of society,” the release said.

Anania will take pictures of his journey, which will be posted on the hospital’s Facebook site.

“I like to do this. This is where medicine can change a person’s life. And these are extremely poor people.” Anania said in the release. “I am satisfied to know that I played a direct role in changing somebody’s life.”

Anania is expected to return to Nathan Littauer on Jan. 21.