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Jefferson is shown here after having successfully undergone microtia repair surgery. He is a brave kid, and I am very hopeful that with his new ear he will not be stigmatized by the other children.
18-year-old Jabbar received one of the biggest operations we performed on the trip. Jabbar suffered an accidental burn from a coal iron. His brother told us about the medical care he received at the government hospital. Although the hospital might have saved Jabbar's life at the time of his burn, they did not do anything to save the function in his arm and neck with appropriate post-burn care. The surgery provided by ReSurge will restore function in his arm and neck as long as he continues physical therapy on his own.
One week has passed since we came to Chau Doc. I got called “in” at the last minute, because somebody was unable to go. It happens!
I had no idea who was going. Did not know a single person on the team. That did not faze me. I should be used to it by now. This is my 62nd trip, half with Interplast and the rest with other organizations.
It didn’t take long before we all knew each other. We joined in airports, talked, drank coffee and learned each others names.
We are a great team!! We have a wonderful leader that keeps us all in line. Anesthesia has yet to leave anybody asleep too long. The translators have a job I wouldn’t want for any money in the world! They are everywhere, all the time, helping with everything, regardless if it is their job or not. Patients are well cared for by the pediatricians. They are ready for us in the morning so we can start our day.
We are an international group of medical people. We do medicine the same way all over the world. At least five countries are represented. You should listen to us talk!!
We are blessed with good help in the operating room. Scrub people from the hospital are doing a great job. They are interested in learning, helping with turnovers and end of day cleaning.
We have had a great patient load so far. Cleft palates and lips every day. A surgeon’s dream!! Still, we are not able to do all the patients, so we are all looking forward to coming back next year and do some more.
It’s a good feeling to be able to help children all over the world. It’s a never ending job and I am glad to be part of the team.
Carla underwent cleft lip repair by the interplast Cusco, Peru surgical team last year, and was treated this morning for her cleft palate, which was wide open. It is common for patients to have a cleft lip repaired one year and a cleft palate the following year. By seperating the surgeries, Interplast doctors give the child time to heal and avoid keeping the patient under anesthesia for too long.
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This is Nisha, a twelve year old girl who got burned when her dupatta (an Indian scarf that is draped around the shoulders) caught fire as she was bending down to help cook. She has five sisters. In many places, such a family would be considered a blessing. Here in India, it can be a curse.
During clinic day, Nisha's mother pleaded with us to help Nisha, because she has five sisters. Nisha is the second oldest, and traditionally, the daughters are married off from oldest to youngest. Even though her burn is an accident, no one will want to marry her because of her disfigurement, inability to perform basic tasks due to her burns and the perception that her luck will befall children.
Since no one will marry her, her four younger sisters will have a much harder time finding a husband, and in rural Indian society, being an unmarried woman is a mark of shame and sadness.
Her mother sells pillows and sheets door-to-door, and heard about Interplast when she came to Seema and Puneet's house to ply her trade. Over time Seema heard about Nisha and told her mother to bring her in to see the Interplast team.