Today was our first day at the Sao Jose Hospital and we really made the most if it. We got the call from Todd yesterday that he finally cleared customs with our medical supplies in Sao Paulo and he could get a flight to Aracaju arriving late in the evening. Mission director Dan Bronson rounded up a determined crew of able-bodied volunteers for the midnight run to the airport. The boxes were in place at the hospital by 3:00 a.m. and the first bus with the surgical team left the hotel just over three hours later.
Our three operating rooms were set and ready to go by the time the rest of the team arrived a short while later with our step-saver recovery room awaiting the first post-op patient. Rotaplast missions are never about sleeping-in but this was as close to an all-nighter as you could get. Here are the teams of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses in action:
Veteran Rotaplaster Dr. Sibrand Schepel of the Netherlands is not only a skillfully artistic plastic surgeon, he also enjoys making art on balloons and inflated surgical gloves to amuse everyone. I first met him in Guatemala City in 2007 where he was affectionately known as "Dr. Holland." He drew on these balloons to show the kids how cleft lips and palates are stitched together.
It's all about the children and everyone on the team gives their all to make the hospital experience as calming and reassuring as possible to every member of the family.
Jerry Meshulam, Photojournalist