The hardest part of an Interplast trip is telling parents that we can't operate on their child. The parents often travel for hours or days at great expense because they trust Interplast to give their kid a normal life. Unfortunately, we can't help everyone.
As is obvious by the picture, this kid has multiple medical problems. Not only does he have a cleft lip and palate, but he has no left ear and a misshapen skull. In cases such as these, the cleft lip is indicative of major neurological problems, and putting such a child under anesthesia risks death. We do not have a neurologist on our team, and since there are many lives we can change without such a risk and we only have a limited time, we had to turn him down.
It's so hard to tell a mother the reasons why we can't operate on her child, and watch her eyes get progressively teary and withdrawn as the translator explains. All we can do is concentrate on the kids we can help, and recognize that so many need our help.