Surgeons Dr. Capozzi, Dr. Costanzo, Dr. Simonds, Dr. Hassan

We’re finally doing what we came to do! Many successful surgeries…some were simple cleft lips, others involved more complex surgery inside the mouth such as repairing palatal fistulas and bone grafts to reshape the inside of the jaw. We are also treating a significant number of burn scars to improve function.  There is a high incidence of burns, from a variety of causes: cooking over open fires, burning trash in the streets, electrical accidents, and gas explosions.

Besides our team of four surgeons there were many Egyptian doctors both observing, and participating with, the procedures. The mentoring of local doctors is an important part of these missions.

The days start with Covid testing for all staff, and for all patients immediately prior to their surgery. Fortunately we’ve had no Covid exposure!  Virtually every patient has required translation provided by our wonderful AFS volunteers. Anxious parents need a lot of reassurance before releasing their child to the “unknown”. They also need reassurance during their long wait until they see their child again.  We are keeping our translators busy!

Our internet access has been challenging so I want to be sure to tell one special story and then post a variety of pictures.

This little cutie pie was one of our first surgeries. She is 5 months old, the youngest of 3 children.  Her parents live 14 hours away, by train. They arrived earlier in the month only to learn that someone had told them the wrong date for our mission. So they went home, and then repeated their journey, including one night sleeping on the street when they did not have a hotel. Many patients stay overnight at the hospital, but she did well and the parents requested to leave late in the evening after her surgery so that they could travel when temperatures were cooler. (Temps high 90’s here in Luxor).

We will miss the joy of seeing her after the lip heals, but knowing the skills of our surgeons, we are assured that we have changed a life. Her parents preferred to not be photographed.

Cleft palate, not visible in picture. On his way to surgery.

Wrapped in his “Wrap-A-Smile quilt” with fabric arm splints to keep his hands from touching his face.

Twelve year old girl with burn scars that limited the use of her right arm. The release of the contractures involves a skin graft.

Dr. Salami and AFS volunteer Afaf are happy to see negative Covid results

A relieved momma, waiting for her son to wake up in recovery room.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Lee with OR Nurse Tish and a translator getting a patient ready for treatment.

Lead Anesthesiologist Dr. Singleton, Dr. Lee and OR Nurse Paulette preparing another patient.

OR Nurse Cathy with Anesthesiologist Dr. Tully starting anesthesia. That toy in the boy’s hand spins, a great distraction!

Head Nurse Kim with our Medical Records guru Dr. Purchase.  The day is constantly in flux….schedules get juggled for a variety of reasons.  Everyone stays flexible!!

Rotarian Steve transporting a young girl to surgery, with another Wrap-A-Smile quilt. This particular quilt was made in memory of Carol Egan who was instrumental in recruiting quilters nationwide to keep Rotaplast supplied with these gifts of love.

Side note ~ your historian finally took a taxi across town to a fancier hotel with stronger WIFI to get this post written. But I wasn’t a guest so I couldn’t log in!  After a brief conversation with the manager about Rotaplast, and showing him some pictures, I was not only logged in, but thanked profusely on behalf of his country, and given a free coffee! Positive international relations at work.