What A Difference A Day Makes

On Monday, all the chairs were set up in the hospital’s sports center where physical therapy patients usually exercise. For the Rotaplast mission, the gym is converted to the pre & post-op ward. There is no air conditioning, but fans are on to provide a breeze for the waiting families.

Today, all the chairs were filled with hopeful parents and children. This area is only the first step in determining whether or not they can move on to registration.

These cots were also set up on Monday in the same room and will be used on the first day of surgery for children to get into gowns and prepped for surgery.

Today, the cots are being used for overflow.

Let’s Start At The Beginning

Before families can proceed any further in the process, both the child and the parent must test negative for COVID.

Mission volunteers have an assigned task based on their role. However, during pre-clinic, it’s all hands on deck. Patient Transporter Bob Herold brings one parent and patient to registration once they are confirmed negative for COVID. Then he hands off the initial medical records folder to Ward Coordinator Sue Fox.

Each patient is assigned a number that corresponds with their chart. This number is written on the patient’s arm in Sharpie Marker as an added level of patient confirmation throughout the process.

Medical Records Keeper Steve Brozosky maintains medical forms, which are kept in numbered file folders. All patient information and Daily Schedules of surgeries are stored in an Excel file.

Once the patient is photographed with their chart, nurses take vitals (oxygen saturation, weight, heart rate, temperature and blood pressure). This necessary step ensures that the patient is healthy enough to withstand anesthesia and the surgery itself. Here, PACU Nurse Aaron Woolman cradles an infant before getting its vitals.

After the nurses have gotten all the vital signs the patient is evaluated by a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and a pediatric nurse/pediatrician to ascertain if the child is healthy enough for a successful surgery. There is a translator present as well to make sure that the communications are understood.

Here, Lead Pediatrician Katherine Gallagher, MD examines a patient.

Lastly, the dental team from Cebu, led by Dr. Ray Adam Alviar (President, Philippine Dental Association, Cebu Chapter) examines the patient’s mouth and takes any necessary molds. During this step, patients are also educated on personal dental care by Incoming Auditor for the PDA, Dr. Gabriel Albina and Dr. Chariz Asoy.

Disappointed, But Not Defeated

Vans take the team from the hotel to the hospital. Before we even got to the hospital this morning, we saw this family riding behind us on their motorbike. Behind the father, is 1-year-old Erza. Her complex case includes club feet and a small anus opening in addition to her cleft lip.

Unfortunately, Erza did not qualify for surgery at this time because the other complicated conditions make it too risky for the surgery. Even though the family didn’t get the news they wanted, they are still able to smile and hold out hope for next time.

You Know What They Say About All Work And No Play…

Steve and Sue pause between patients to pose for the camera.

Since many of the patients experience difficulty eating, fun straws are on hand to entice the children to cooperate with photo taking. Here, Assistant Mission Director Sangita Seshadri and local volunteer, Liza Rago get silly for the camera.

Our volunteers take a moment to check in with each other…everything is running smoothly so far.

In Cebu, a favorite fruit to eat is the Jackfruit. Each jackfruit can grow up to 120 pounds in weight, 35 inches in length, and 20 inches in diameter. A species of the fig, mulberry and breadfruit family,  ripe jackfruit is naturally sweet, with subtle pineapple- or banana-like flavor. In Cebuano, the word for jackfruit is nangkà. Many thanks to our host Rotary Club of Cebu for providing this treat for us to enjoy.

Husband and wife volunteers Sue and Tom Fox.

Meet Fe Escaño, a Rotaplast volunteer since 2002…and she has the badge to prove it.

A Glimpse Of The Lives That Rotaplast Will Change

In The Spotlight – Jim Hoyt, MD

A former Rotarian from Washington state, this marks Jim’s 15th mission and his 3rd trip to Cebu. Other countries that Jim has changed lives in with his talents as a plastic surgeon include India, Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Latin America. Jim closed his practice just days before heading to Cebu.

Jim was immersed in the field of medicine, as his Grandpa set up a missionary surgical hospital in Korea and then Jim lived in Ethiopia while his dad set up a medical school.

In 1989, Jim was given to opportunity to take Michael Jackson on surgery rounds after the mass shooting at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA. Michael wanted to see the children that were affected.

When asked about his most impactful Rotaplast experience, Jim recounted the story of a young woman in Vietnam who wore a scarf her whole life in order to hide her cleft lip. She had found love and had a few children with a man she was dating. However, much to her despair and agony, she was ostracized by her partner’s family because of her facial appearance. At the age of 35, she met Jim and was granted the opportunity to get cleft pallet surgery. During her consult, she told Jim, “I’ve waited for you all of my life.” The surgery was a success and the very next day she ran to the wedding shop to purchase her wedding dress. They married within the next 24 hours and live a happy and life.

Jim says such stories epitomize the importance of Rotoplast and the value such organizations have in the world today. Service before self through medicine is Jim’s passion and he is grateful for the opportunities Rotoplast has provided to share his passion for surgery to improve patients lives.

Now that Jim considers himself semi-retired, he plans to spend some time flying planes, golfing and being a grandpa.

At The End Of Day One Of Pre-Clinic…

…52 smiles were seen.