Yesterday at the Hospital National Arzobispo Loayza, the Rotaplast team checked in 120 patients in need of cleft lip and palate surgery from 9a.m. to 5p.m.
At 5:10p.m., Rosa Angelina Lopez Pascual and her mother, father and 2-year-old sister walked through the doors.Though check-in was available the following day, doing so would leave the family on the street for the night, while checking in would allow them shelter in the ward. The team reversed their pack-up process and checked the toddler into the “pre-op” system as their number grew to 121.
The pre-op process begins with a medical form for every child's parents. With the help of a translator, the form is completed and an official photo is taken of the child. That photo is the beginning of the child's folder, which is handed off to a nurse who records the child's vital signs. The patient then meets with a surgeon who approves or denies the case based on medical safety; green stickers mean surgery is approved, red stickers mean surgery will not take place during this mission. An approved child then visits a pediatrician for a basic check-up and parents answer a few more questions.
For Rosa Angelina, the sticker was green and her cleft palatoplasty was scheduled to take place the following day. This will be surgery number two for the toddler; her first repaired her lip as an infant, before palate surgery was possible due to her age. Her parents hope the second surgery will allow their daughter to speak without impairment.
Today, surgery began. Thirteen procedures were completed, including that of Rosa Angelina, who, at the ripe old age of 3, is one of the oldest patients in the ward.
Old enough to be frightened, yet not old enough to grasp the concept and privilege of reconstructive surgery, Rosa Angelina put up a bit of a fight as nurses escorted her to the operating room. When the surgery ended, she remained medicated as she was placed in the recovery room. A short while later, she awakened terrified. With little success soothing the child, nurses dressed her father in scrub gear and allowed him into recovery where he instantly quieted Rosa Angelina.
Soon after, the entire Lopez Pascal family was reunited. They had traveled by bus for 72 hours straight from their home in the province of Hunaco after hearing a Rotaplast announcement on the radio, and waited anxiously as their frightened little girl's face and palate was reconstructed by Mission Director Dr. Sibrand Schepel. Though Rosa Angelina will not be able to consume anything but water for the next 24 hours, she will be able to lead a normal, healthy life thanks to this surgery. The family has no means by which to return to their home, and so the members of Rotaplast team have coordinated a private collection in order to fund their trip.