Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cleft Lip/Palate

Diego, Portoviejo, Ecuador, Dec. 2004

Last November, on Thanksgiving Day, I flew to Ecuador to volunteer as a PACU (recovery room) nurse with an American surgical team. Most of the 93 surgeries in our two weeks of work were cleft lip and palate repairs of children. Interplast is a California based group that has been sponsoring surgical missions for almost 40 years. It is not religious or political; it is health care. I felt fortunate to be chosen for a trip and was impressed with Interplast staff and volunteers every step of the way. From the very first contact, every interaction I had with this group was well organized and professional. I kept saying to Dave, "It is as if they have done all of this before."

Jemma and her mom, Portoviejo, Ecuador, Dec. 2004

This year, we are living in Mexico and I have found out about another group here in Puerto Vallarta that is doing similar work. Tomorrow I will volunteer with other members of the International Friendship Club at a local hospital for a three day cleft lip/palate surgery clinic. The surgeons come from Guadalajara and that is about all I know at this point. I may work in the operating room but I really won't know until tomorrow (or Thursday). This group is a little more laid back than Interplast. Not having surgical scrubs or a copy of my license was not a barrier. Just show up, was the reply. We can use your help.


Sarah said...

God bless you for helping those children.

kim said...

That is so heartbreaking to see such small children have to go through surgery. It's wonderful that you're there and able to lend your help.

Emily said...

That is awesome! What a great way to share time and skills..