Warning: this article includes graphic images some readers may find disturbing.

“Time is the most valuable thing that a man can spend.” –  Diogenes Laërtius

We are here as volunteers, giving our time, providing opportunities otherwise lost. The days are long but the work is rewarding.  And although time will heal the surgical wounds and the pain subsides over time, the patients know that future has just become a little bit brighter.

Here we have pediatrician Dr. Bryan Stamm, assessing a patient before surgery. He and fellow pediatrician Dr. Megan Sakamoto-Chun gather vital information such as hemoglobin, oxygen levels and heart rate. The safety of the patients is paramount and no surgery is performed unless the patient is strong and healthy.

Every morning on our 10 minute bus ride to the hospital, Dr. Bryan provides the team with his “Medical Minute”. Topics have ranged from common travel injuries, malaria, what foods to avoid and the safety protocols in the event of an emergency.

Fifteen surgeries are being performed today by four surgeons.  Dr. Anne DeLaney below is focused on the surgery of a patient with a burned hand, 17 year old Aye Aye.  Dr. Anne has many years of experience performing surgeries on hand injuries.

Aye Aye  pictured here suffered burns to her hand when she was only 6 months old.

There are no plastic surgeons where she lives nor are there any burn recovery clinics. Scar tissue built up in the palm of her hand and her fingers contracted over time.

And although the surgery was a long one, she is now in recovery and has a chance to use her hand again.

The other three surgeons have transformed the lives of these patients:  13 year old Nan  (bilateral cleft lip repair)

And 10 year old Khine , (unilateral  cleft lip repair)

After 14 surgeries and a late finish to the day, the team takes the bus back to the hotel to enjoy a quiet evening together.  It’s an opportunity for us all to share in the successes performed during the day, a time we all cherish.

Until tomorrow……