(This is my little man, he had the biggest happiest smile. When he was 4 months old, he came down with a disease that ate away at his face, in the process he lost most of his upper and lower lip before the disease stopped spreading. He and his father were here last year for the first time and had his first surgery. He is back again this year to have an upper lip made from skin from his cheek.)
Today was all about screening our potential patients. We routed 157 people through many stations to see what the needs are, who is eligible and who will have to come back another time. We created their medical record, measured, weighed, interviewed, and took blood samples. They met our doctors, anesthesiologists, dentist, speech pathologists, and photographer, Trevor Henley. Our experts conferred and made the tough decisions, triaging the group by severity and eligibility.
We met India that day. Families have invested great hopes in this surgery 'camp', as they call it and we were called to perform. We began with a little chaos and confusion but we found our rhythm and got it done. These families traveled a long distance and showed up well-dressed, undernourished, anxious, and expectant. Every single one overcame obstacles to be here and had the highest hopes of the perfect result for their child. Those who had to accept “no” for an answer, were encouraged to understand that it was the best decision for their child's health. Easier said than done! We ended up with over 100 “yeses”, knowing that the next day, many walk-ins would show up and be added to the surgery schedule. We enjoyed happy hour, dinner and a welcomed early-to-bed! Let the surgery begin!
Let the surgeries begin…