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Meet Natalie Richards, Operating Room Surgical Tech


During her trip to the Philippines, Dr. Ananthakrishnan had a chance to catch up with Natalie Richards, an Operating Room Surgical Tech, whose job it is to prepare the rooms and equipment before surgical procedures begin. Natalie makes sure that all of the equipment needed for the procedure is sterilized, assembled and in excellent working condition. She also helps with sterile surgical draping before surgery.

While surgery is taking place, Natalie passes sterile surgical equipment like scalpels and forceps to the surgeons. She keeps track of items like sponges and needles, operates lights, cuts sutures and dresses wounds. She’s an indispensible part of the surgical team and we don’t know what we’d do without her assistance. Here are a few things she had to share with us about her experiences in the Philippines.

Dr. Ananthakrishnan:

What are the biggest challenges you faced in the Philippines and how did you overcome them?


The biggest challenge was the lack of surgical supplies and instruments. We had to improvise a lot and use what we had available. Luckily, everyone in the room was a creative thinker and we were able to figure out other ways to accomplish what we needed to do.

Dr. Ananthakrishnan:

How far did you travel to come to the Philippines? Where are you from originally?


I flew in from Atlanta (where I live) to the Philippines. It’s a rough, 8,711-mile trip. The jet lag was an absolute killer, but I survived.

Dr. Ananthakrishnan:

What do you find to be the most personally fulfilling aspect of working here?


I absolutely love kids, so naturally I was thrilled to get to work with them! It’s really important to me to be able to interact with them and make them feel comfortable and safe. Surgery can be a scary thing for anyone, especially for a child, so it was great to be able to help them not only by assisting in the operating room, but supporting them emotionally before and after surgery as well.

Dr. Ananthakrishnan:

What is your favorite story with regard to a patient and the outcome for the patient?


They are all my favorites! I can’t pick only one because it gave me great joy to see each and every child after surgery feeling better. I love knowing that I had a part in making sure their lives will improve, and that they will no longer be defined by their physical limitations.

Here’s a photo of the Orthopaedic Link team at Tim Tebow Cure Hospital. From the left is Dr. Ananthakrishnan, Dr. Reyes who is the former head of Orthopaedics at SPMC (Southern Philippines Medical Center), Natalie in the yellow blouse, Neuromonitoring Technician Theresa Fu, RN Carolyn Madrid and Dr. Cauilan.


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