This is the first day of surgery for the 2012 Oaxaca Rotaplast team. Our nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgeons are in the operating rooms preparing for the first surgeries of patients who were evaluated yesterday. We expect to have surgical days on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week and Monday of next week.

Yesterday, Tuesday, June 26th, was our pre-clinic evaluation day. We had 109 children of varying ages who came through the screening process in the hopes of being a candidate for surgery. There is always a wide range of conditions and circumstances that drive the decision to operate on a patient. The screening process is thorough and involves consultation by the surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and the speech pathologist. All of their observations, notes, and comments play into the team decision about the final surgical schedule. This is important because the timing of the surgery and recovery dictate the need for bed space in the recovery room and the ward. Since available beds in both areas are very limited, the timing becomes a critical concern.

There is also the painful process of telling the patients who will not receive surgery about the team's decision not to operate. Many families travel a long distance and it may be quite expensive and difficult. Their determination to come here to seek improvement for their children's lives speaks directly to the parent's love for their children. Despite this commitment, this is still a mission with limited resources of time, medical staff, operating rooms and recovery space. As a result, some parents have to be told that their children cannot be served by this mission. This is heartbreaking news for those who have pinned their hopes on this opportunity to correct lip and palate problems in their children.

Despite the limited resources, the dedication of this group of volunteers to help children they don't know and will likely never see again is very impressive. These personal values are also consistent with the organizational qualities of Rotary and Rotaplast.