top of page
5thbrigade (1).jpg

Experience report 2018

5th Brigade for Anorectal Malformations in Honduras 2018

06-12 January 2018, San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Ruth Páz Hospital

Due to the explosive political situation in Honduras, the planned brigade was initially in question in January. There were violent protests across the country, with deaths due to questionable manipulation in the presidential election. After an intensive exchange with Dr. Juan Craniotis, the director of the “Fundación MAR” association at the “Ruth Paz” hospital, we decided together to make the trip. The situation had calmed down so much after the New Year that there was no longer any danger for our patients, their families and our team.

The flight to Honduras turned out to be even more difficult than usual due to the unrest. This time we paid special attention to our luggage, as we were able to take some instruments, surgical equipment and auxiliary materials with us thanks to large donors. The way to San Pedro Sula led us from Vienna via London to Miami and finally to Honduras. Due to the previous unrest, there was an evening curfew throughout the country until the turn of the year. We therefore had to spend one night in Miami, as the evening flight was surprisingly canceled due to the curfew.

After our arrival in San Pedro Sula, we were warmly welcomed again by our friends in Honduras. Also this year, Dr. Juan Craniotis, the medical director at the “Ruth Paz” hospital, placed almost 50 children on the busy calendar of operations for the coming week for the 5th Brigade for the treatment of anorectal malformations.

With Dr. Carlos Reck and Dr. Wilfried Krois from the Vienna General Hospital, as well as Dr. Christoph Arneitz from Children's Surgery in Klagenfurt was again fully represented in the “Helping hands for Anorectal Malformations” association. This brigade took place in cooperation with the " Colorectal Team Overseas - CTO ". From the Colorectal Center in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Richard Woods and Dr. Alejandra Vilanova-Sánchez and two qualified nurses who specialize in the treatment and care of the artificial anus (stoma). Meghan Fisher and Kaleigh Peters were able to train not only the nurses on site but also the patients and their families accordingly. Correct handling of the stoma is essential, especially for follow-up treatment and the further healing process. Thankfully, we were able to bring some ostomy care products from Austria and America to Honduras and make them available to the families on site free of charge.

This year, Dr. Drew Rideout from John Hopkins Hospital in St. Lauderdale, US, and Dr. Viktoria Pfeifle came to Honduras from Switzerland.

As a further important support, Dr. Alexander Springer. He works as a pediatric urologist at the Vienna General Hospital and took over the pediatric urological interventions on site. Thanks to a donation from Storz, we have also been able to perform cystoscopy on site since 2016. Anorectal malformations are very often associated with malformations of the urinary tract and the reflection of the urethra and bladder is an important part of diagnosis and follow-up care.

As in the previous year, we asked ourselves some scientific questions about the diseases in the developing country Honduras and created questionnaires in advance. We hope to be able to research the social problems surrounding the clinical picture and the need for assistance in the form of brigades in poorer countries. The student Pastora Hernándes was able to provide us with valuable help with the translation into Spanish on site.

This voluntary mission is also advertised in the media across the country. Since the surgical treatment of anorectal malformations is not yet carried out everywhere in Honduras, patients come from all over the country, in some cases also from neighboring countries (e.g. Nicaragua). This year 56 patients were planned, of which unfortunately 10 had to be postponed due to illness. We were able to carry out 5 closures of an artificial anus (stoma) and thus complete the treatment for these children. Furthermore, in the week we were able to perform 12 anorectoplasties for malformations that were still untreated, as well as 4 re-operations on children who had already been operated on with postoperative problems. For further clarification, sample biopsies of the intestine were taken from 8 patients. Pediatric urology treated 9 patients with a malformation of the urethra (hypospadias) and performed 7 urinary tract examinations.


Fortunately, we spent the whole week without incident, and this year the organizers and Juan's family again went out of their way to look after our well-being. All in all, our visit to Honduras this year was once again an incredible experience, enriching both for us as visitors and for the people on site, whose extraordinary gratitude is our greatest reward.

We look forward to the next mission in October 2018!

With a big thank you to our generous donors of the association “Helping Hands for Anorectal Malformations”!

5thbrigade (2).jpg

more pictures


The team of the MAR 2018 brigade

Juan Craniotis Rios (HON), Carlos Reck (USA), Wilfried Krois (AUT), Christoph Arneitz (AUT), Dr. Richard Woods (US), Alejandra Vilanova-Sánchez (ESP), Drew Rideout (US), Meghan Fisher (US), Kaleigh Peters (US), Matthias Schwarz (AUT), Viktoria Pfeiffle (CHE), Pastora Xiomara Hernandéz (HON)

Donation account


IBAN: AT89 2011 1826 8970 0500
Institute: Erste Bank


2nd BRIGADE 2015



IBAN:   AT89 2011 1826 8970 0500
Institute: Erste Bank


bottom of page