Day 2 in New Delhi, India

On a typical mission the first day is set aside for an opening clinic. Patients are registered and then evaluated by the medical staff for the feasibility of surgical treatment sometime during the next two weeks. On this mission local Rotarians and Dr. Gagan Sabharwal decided to hold a rolling clinic during the first week, with patients assigned specific days to come to the hospital for their evaluations.

To accomplish this, Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Delhi Vasant Valley widely publicized the Rotaplast clinic using the media and promotional banners. The members of this club personally contacted the hospitals and doctors in greater Delhi, and then setup a call-in center staffed by Rotarians. They then scheduled the potential patients on the first 5 days for screening. In this way our Rotaplast team was able to begin surgeries in the afternoon on this opening day.

Surgeons Devi Tantri, Gagan Sabharwal, and Ron Gemberling discussing revised opening clinic procedures with Head Nurse Evelyn Abad. IMG_5955

Nurse Evelyn and Dana Morrison, Medical Records Recorder, review registration protocol. IMG_5958

On this Wednesday morning our team screened 29 patients, some of whom had been pre-screened by Dr. Gagan. Staff members from the Sarvodaya Hospital were especially helpful taking vitals and acting as translators for us.

Doctors Ron Gemberling and Gagan Sabharwal and OR Nurse Victoria Slama review the records of a child. IMG_6037

Lead PACU Nurse Luisa Poquiz showing Ritika how to read his temperature. IMG_5972

Surgeon Devi Tantri carefully evaluates Kapil for surgery. IMG_6072

Dr. Ron photographing Utkarsh’s cleft lip during opening clinic. IMG_6086

Tightly holding their children’s hands or cradling infants in their flowing saris, parents approached the registration desk. Hope radiated from their faces, and their expressions bore an aura of quiet respect. Our Rotaplast team represented a chance, an opportunity. Looking up at us, they held out hopes that we could perform miracles and change the unexplainable fate which had been dealt to their children.


Dharamveer and her mother. IMG_5990

Kanishka and his father. IMG_5991

Khushi and his mother. IMG_6000

Payal and his father. IMG_6015

Because of the revised pre-screening, we were able to operate on four children during this first afternoon. Older children were selected for these cases and all fared well.


Akash will awake to a new face. IMG_6120

Patient Transporter, Paul Quintavalla prepares to take Neha to the ward for the night. IMG_6118

Today was a long day – a day which opened our eyes and hearts to the children and families who deal daily with the anomalies of cleft lips and palates. How lucky we are not to have to deal with such pain.

Before we took off our scrubs and returned to our hotel for refreshments and a late dinner, we passed by the ward one last time to look in on our four recovering patients. Deep down, each of us experienced a true sense of accomplishment as expressed in the eyes of Anesthesiologist Julie. IMG_6119-001