Ineke van Zundert, anesthesiologist - For me, going on an Interplast trip always starts with dual feelings. Of course it’s great to have the opportunity to help people who are less privileged, but before leaving home I wonder if I will meet nice people to work with, if we will have “enough” patients (because it feels good to be needed), how the country will be, the food, the hotel….And always, and this time again, after 1 day, I realize that I shouldn’t have worried about anything. After 7 trips I still enjoy working with those “funny” Americans (I’m Dutch) and from the start it is very rewarding: in the clinic people come to us with the hope on their face that we can do something for them or for their children. Unfortunately, we always have to disappoint some of them.
On the day of surgery parents full of trust hand over their child to us, but the kids themselves are less happy at that moment: some of them are crying and screaming when we put the anesthesia mask to their nose and mouth, but after a couple of minutes they are quietly asleep and after 1-2 hours we can already see the result.
In the recovery room mothers (but also fathers and sometimes grandmothers) take care of and comfort their children, looking around with bright smiles on their faces. Like I said: it’s very rewarding to make people a little bit happier.