The work begins as we got an early start by arriving at a military base where all of potential patients and their families have congregated to await today’s evaluation. There are about 260 candidates for surgery and we can only select about 110 for surgery. As the process continues the medical team will select those most in need of the surgery and those who will have the potential to have their lives changed by this surgery. The selection process starts with the surgeons and anesthesiologist beginning the evaluation. Patients are screened and are placed in three categories: green for schedule for surgery, blue for potential surgery if time permits, and finally red for those who, for a number of reasons, are not candidates for surgery at this time. All candidates, however, continue through the screening process to determine if there are others needs that may be addressed by a later team, or if there are needs that can be addressed locally. After the initial surgeon evaluation the selected candidates go through various lab tests, see a pediatrician, and all candidates get a dental evaluation. Photos are taken for each participant's file to make certain that the proper patient gets the recommended treatment.
By days end at 7 PM, a 12 hour day, 230 patients have been evaluated, and approximately 110 have been scheduled for surgery during the next seven days.
The crew, all 30, have participated in various areas of the clinic and are a tired bunch. We all will sleep well and will be on the bus at 6:30 AM to get back to the hospital, organize, and start surgeries by about 9AM if all goes well.
The local support of the Rotary clubs and the commercial sponsors was invaluable as they translated and just picked up a whole lot of the physical tasks that needed attending to. The Rotarians created quite an atmosphere for the patients and their families with entertainment and food during the day.