Hi. I am Susan Hayes, President of Interplast, and it is my pleasure and privilege to be accompanying the My Tho, Vietnam team for the first week of its work here. On our first day—“clinic day”—our doctors and nurses saw and screened some 130 individuals, both from My Tho, and from great distances. Many were babies, some were children, and a few adults came to us for help; but for each of them and their families, there was the unifying factor of hope. Hope that through the Interplast team and our valued colleagues here in My Tho, their disfigurements can be repaired, their function restored, their lives changed.
Our team members hail from all over the United States and beyond: from California, Maine, Washington, South Carolina, Oregon, New Hampshire, and even Great Britain. Many of our team members are new to Interplast, and the team is balanced by a number of “veterans,” making for a wonderful mix. It is always amazing to me to watch a team come together. It begins at the airport when they meet as strangers, and less than 48 hours later are fast friends, roommates, and operating professionally as a well-oiled machine—as if they had worked together for years. They are unified by their desire to help.
My Tho is an outstanding Interplast site. Every day the operating room is filled with doctors and nurses from the My Tho hospital observing, asking questions, learning, and working hands-on with our team. Interplast’s ultimate goal is to hand the scalpel over, to provide sufficient support, medical education and training that Interplast doctors and nurses will no longer be required to perform surgeries on the poor in My Tho, or any other site, because we will have worked successfully to increase the surgical capacity of that site, and the needs will be taken care of locally. Given the high level of motivation and skill of the My Tho medical personnel, that will surely happen here.