Doctors from UIHC, Ecuador share new techniques to help patients in both countries

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Doctors from Iowa City and Ecuador are teaming up for surgery, and they're learning from each other while helping patients in both countries.

Doctors from Ecuador collaborate with doctors at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to learn new medical techniques on Thursday, May 18, 2017. (Etahn Fickau/KCRG-TV9)

Dr. Enrique Bringas said a particular type of brain surgery saves your life. He should know. He was a patient at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics who underwent the neuro-interventional surgery.

It's that type of surgery doctors at UIHC are teaching doctors from Ecuador and other countries.

"It's marvelous work because they are helping people that don't have the access to the technology and the training that they have, Bringas said.

"What we have learned is that our unique opportunity and expertise can be shared with countries in which this training and this expertise is lacking," said Dr. Santiago Ortega, a neurologist at UIHC.

But it's a two way street. Doctors and nurses from Ecuador can come to Iowa City for their residency, and professionals from UIHC can go to Ecuador to learn about procedures and medications not available in the U.S.

Dr. Nelson Maldonado trained in the U.S. but is one of the few neurology experts in Ecuador. He said international collaborations in medicine have come a long way over the years.

"The difference now is that you don't have to imagine the future. You know the future and you know what new things are happening here where the best medicine in the world is," said Maldonado.