Elielma was ready for surgery when we arrived at Hospital São José at 6:30 this morning. She was the first patient of the day with her mom to follow in the afternoon. It was a happy ending that almost didn't happen though.
When we called them a few days ago to let them know when to come to the hospital, the phone number we had been given turned out to be invalid. A volunteer tried driving to their home and, unfortunately, the address was not valid either.
We really wanted to be sure they were able to get their new smiles so all local resources were brought into action. With the aid of local Rotarians, the Department of Health, radio station and police, they were finally located. The city sent a car to bring them to the hospital.
As I write this, Eliene is a few feet away in OR #1 receiving anesthesia from Dr. Charles Williams with OR Nurse Jodelle Myhre ready to assist Dr. Jann Johnson who will be performing the life changing surgery. Several volunteers with a moment to spare are also observing. Everyone is anxious to see mom and daughter with their new smiles.
Jerry Meshulam, Photojournalist