For Dr. Billy Cordon, a surgical mission trip to Honduras in his free time was the perfect opportunity to extend the Mount Sinai mission of caring for others, regardless of their ability to pay. A urologist and assistant professor at Columbia University’s Division of Urology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Cordon specializes in urologic reconstruction, trauma and prosthetics, and he saw the opportunity to deliver this type of advanced care to a severely underserved area.
Championing Mount Sinai’s passion for charity care, Dr. Cordon recently led a surgical urologic reconstruction mission at a Honduran public county hospital in San Pedro Sula. The mission team included a diverse mix of urologists, nurses and medical students from Honduras, Mexico, New York and Texas.
The cases Dr. Cordon saw in Honduras were complex cases carefully selected by the local urologists. While at the community hospital, the team completed 33 complex urethral reconstructions in five days. Dr. Cordon says it was a humbling and motivating experience to see people travel so many miles to undergo long-awaited and much-needed surgeries.
Dr. Cordon says the patients are always extremely grateful for the charitable medical treatment. He says they have to be willing to put their confidence in a team that they’ve not had the privilege of meeting prior to the surgery. “It’s touching how they often come without hesitation or question, putting their trust in strangers – having faith that the surgical team will do their best,” Dr. Cordon said. The situation is rewarding for both the patients and physicians. The patients get badly needed treatment at no cost, and the doctors develop a mature understanding of global health. Witnessing the incredible appreciation expressed by the grateful patients and their families is what drives Dr. Cordon to return back to the mission field. A native of Latin America, this is the second surgical mission Dr. Cordon has volunteered with in Honduras. Helping others in need will always be important to Dr. Cordon, and it’s the reason he plans to continue bringing his medical expertise to those with limited access to high-quality care in the future, here at Mount Sinai and abroad.