The first day of surgery is always an exciting time on a Rotaplast mission. Though it is the crux of the mission, it does not come without a great deal of preparation. OR nurses and anesthesiologists take great care to prepare the operating rooms for surgery so that they are properly equipped so that no piece of equipment, medication or other resource is missing at the critical time. Safety is always a priority on a Rotaplast mission.


In the meantime, other team members are preparing patients, coordinating with local medical professionals, and doing other critical tasks necessary for a safe and successful mission. Everyone on the team takes part in this very important process.

It’s Great to be First


Seven-month-old Nihad Chi is the first surgery patient of the mission. The adorable baby boy with large brown eyes has a cleft lip that needs to be repaired. Nihad receives a final check by pediatrician Dr. Bryan Stamm, and he is then forwarded to the pre-op area by ward coordinator Agnes Wolfkamp. A short while later he is scooped from his mother’s arms by Head Surgeon Dr. Angelo Capozzi and carried to the operating room. Hungry, thirsty and scared, Nihad kicks and screams due to the unfamiliar faces that are surrounding him. Soon anesthesiologists Dr. Helen O’Keefe and Dr. Mary Rhee have him peacefully asleep. Surgeons Dr. Kevin Degnan and Dr. Angelo Capozzi work their magic on Nihad. Nurse Lois Borie coordinates the room. An hour later he is a new little man with a lip that will match others his age in their village community.


Nihad is then taken across the hall to the recovery room where nurse Alicia Brassil and assistants Chelsey Kratter and Dana Morrison will monitor him so that he wakes up safely and fully.

Nihad’s mother is brought to the recovery room to reunite with Nihad. For the last 90 minutes, she and Nihad’s father waited anxiously, entrusting total strangers with the life of their child. She smiles and takes Nihad into her arms from patient transporter Gene Davenport, providing the soothing comfort that no stranger can offer. Nihad will spend the night being cared for by both local medical staff as well as Rotaplast team members.


One down and many more to go.

On this first day of surgery, a total of eight cases were completed. An average of ten surgeries per day will be the norm for the rest of the mission.