For Immediate Release February 26, 2016


University of Maryland head and neck team has returned home after Cyclone Winston rocked Fiji

The Team | Photo Gallery


The 12-person team of nurses, surgeons, residents and anesthesiologists traveled to Fiji’s second largest island to offer its services free of charge. Team members saw 10 patients the first day they arrived and began surgeries the very next day. Over the course of five days, they managed to see 150 patients and complete 15 surgeries. Some of the medical conditions they treated include: thyroid goiters, skin conditions, hearing loss, dysphasia and reflux. 

The Fijian community welcomed the team with open arms. At the end of the five days, a group of Fijian men and women sang a tearful farewell song, thanking the team for their time and services.

The team was planning to spend a few days decompressing before the return trip home when the cyclone hit. Kristen Angster, MD, Chief Resident in Otolaryngology, said that rain was coming through the walls and the high winds started to uproot trees. The cyclone also demolished many homes, devastating numerous rural families.

All members made it home safely, with the last group arriving late Wednesday night. In a press conference with local media, the team expressed its deepest sympathies with the people of Fiji in the aftermath of the cyclone.

The team accommodated as many patients as they could during the short trip, but the need is still great in Fiji. They hope to return in the future.


The Team

  • Jeffrey S. Wolf, MD, FACS,  Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Clinic Practice, Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, SOM
  • Rodney J. Taylor, MD, FACS, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Research, Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, SOM
  • Kristen Angster, MD,  Chief Resident of Otolaryngology: UMMC
  • Ryan Casserly, MD,  Resident in Otolaryngology: UMMC
  • Gina Muscara, CRNA, Anesthesiology, UMMC
  • Emily Irish, CRNA, Anesthesiology, UMMC
  • Maria Mayton, RN, Operating room nurse, UMMC
  • Lilith Rafferty, RN, Operating room nurse, UMMC
  • Mary Macmillan, RN, PACU nurse, UMMC
  • Laura Haines, RN, PACU nurse, UMMC
  • Fleesie Hubbard, MS, Clinical Research Coordinator, Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, SOM
  • Maurice Sheppard, MD, Anesthesiology, Upper Chesapeake

More about the Department of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) - Head and Neck Surgery

Photo Gallery

Photos from the team's trip