Overcoming obstacles and seeking solutions characterize this dedicated Rotaplast Mission Team.


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Heading up the 28-member mission team, the four-surgeon "A-Team" completed 106 procedures during 7 days of surgeries. (L to R) Dr. Sibrand Schepel, MD (The Netherlands), Dr. Dennis Dundas, MD (Sequim, WA), Dr. Angelo Capozzi, MD (Tiburon, CA), and Dr. Bradley Coots, MD (Gering, NE)


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Orthodontist Iroshini Perera, DDS, installs a custom-fitted obturator on a young cleft palate patient. The temporary device, to be worn only during eating, prevents liquid from going into a patient's nasal passages. Next year, she will be considered for surgery.

Rotaplast Missions focus on developing or emerging countries in South America, Asia and Africa.  Bangladesh is a benchmark example.   A predominately Muslim country of 160 million, literally thousands of children are born with a cleft lip or palate.  Almost all of them are from families who do not possess the resources to pay for surgery to repair this birth defect.

For every team member, these missions require hard work often under challenging conditions.  This mission required the team to tirelessly work around unexpected Bangladesh countrywide strikes, or "hartals," resulting in street demonstrations and violence on several days during the two-week mission.  On the first Sunday of the mission, the team was confined to the hotel and on other days had to depart the hotel for the hospital at 5:30 in the morning to avoid the 6am government curfew.   On the final weekend of the mission, the country's death toll on the streets of the cities of Bangladesh had reached 58.  


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Clinic Day was the team's final day when all patients returned to the hospital for a final examination. They received instructions on diet and guidance on any additional care to be provided by local medical services.

The mission team was comprised of dedicated professionals with an unwavering commitment and willingness to marshall inordinate amounts of energy.  Each individual member of the team has to perform his or her assignments and deliver beyond the team's expectations.  The job assignments vary widely, but each person plays an integral role in contributing to a productive mission team.  Supporting the OR teams of surgeons, anesthesiologists, OR nurses, PACU nurses, pediatricians, dentists and interpreters were a mission director, medical records keeper, speech pathologist, patient transporter, ward coordinator, recreational therapist, and quartermaster along with a photojournalist.

These team members willingly make personal sacrifices many people would resist.  For many, it's time away from their families, and in many instances, it means foregoing income for the self-employed.  After traveling thousands of miles, this remarkable group of individuals came together for two weeks, forming a high-functioning team to perform medical miracles for the children of Bangladesh.


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(Center) Mission Director Rose-Marie Joyce (Whittier, CA) and (far right) Dentist Biebie van Leeuwen (The Netherlands) bid goodbye to local volunteers on the mission's final day.

Rotaplast volunteers, both medical and non-medical, share a fundamental desire to give service to humanity. Their humanity is children of the world.  Because of their committed volunteerism and the generous donations received by Rotaplast, this dedicated team delivers a minimum of $7 of medical treatment and care for every dollar received. They're truly global ambassadors for the United States as well as for the countries many of these volunteers call home. 


 Mission Team Profiles:

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Pediatricians Dr. Rene Vreuls, MD (The Netherlands, 8 missions) and Dr. Nivedita Mohanty, MD (Chicago, IL, 7 missions)

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(L to R) Lead Anesthesiologist Dr. Joe Anderson, MD (Portland, OR), Orthodontist Iroshini Perera, DDS (San Francisco, CA) and Anesthesiologist Dr. Judy O'Young, MD (Piedmont, CA)

The mission team and Rotaplast International extend a very special thank you to our many donors who have made this mission possible.  We also extend our heartfelt appreciation to our corporate sponsor, Chevron, for its generous donation and we thank the members of the Rotary Club of Agrabad for their warm welcome to Bangladesh and their valued presence and support during the entire mission.

James Taylor, Photojournalist