My Photo


  • Interplast Photos
    interplast's Professional Photographers photoset Visit Interplast's Photos

Subscirbe and Tag

We Are All the Same Inside

  Chongqing Beauty 
  Originally uploaded by interplast

Chongqing, China--Emily Ulm, RN:  I am back from Chongqing, China and am sitting here in the wee hours of the morning trying to feel sleepy enough to go back to bed. Jet lag is not a pretty thing.

My first Interplast trip was absolutely unbelievable and indescribable.  The countryside in China is lush and green from all the rain, with beautiful rolling hills.  I was told by one of our host members that we brought the sunshine; that normally it would be raining a lot more at this time of year.  The cities were clean and very aesthetically pleasing.  I especially liked the farms in Chongqing that were built on the slope of a hill--tiers of land that resembled a staircase from the distance.

I fell in love with the children from the moment I saw them.  We were able to operate on about 54 by the end of the trip.  After our chief surgeon had to return home after being injured, our surgical fellow, Dr. Ian Wilson, took up the slack for a couple of days by operating in two rooms.  When one case was done, we were ready for him with the next one to begin right away.  Kudos to Dr. Wilson for helping to get these kids' surgeries done.  Also, a huge thank you to Dr. Shankar Rai, who joined us in the second week from Nepal to help Ian operate on the children.

Once the cultural barriers were down, we were able to make many close friendships with the people of China.  The PACU nurses worked closely with some volunteer university students from China who were indispensable.  They all became quite close.  The OR nurses befriended the local Chinese OR nurses and again formed some great friendships.

While visiting the Buddhist temple, I was met by an elderly man who said something to me in Chinese.  I asked one of our volunteer students to interpret and she said that he said, "Even though we do not speak the same language, we are still the same people inside." It brought tears to my eyes.

I fell in love with China and the people and was thrilled to be a part of something so big and helpful for the children.

Thanks to Catholic Healthcare West

  Patient's Pre-op Exam 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Chongqing, China -- Dr. Joe Silsby is seen here completing a pre-surgical evaluation of a young child in Chongqing, China.  We at Interplast would like to extend our thanks to Catholic Healthcare West for its generous contribution, which helped make the trip possible.  All the children in Chongqing whose lives were forever changed also send along their heartfelt thanks.

Smiling in Chongqing

  A Happy Mother 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Rowan Hardy, anesthesiologist:  We arrived from far and wide: right across the States, Canada, the UK and Nepal.  A truly international group who have somehow gelled together into an efficient, professional and compassionate team. 

Our Chinese hosts have been incredibly helpful and kind to us as has the group of excellent student interpreters, guides ( and friends).  When our surgeon Ben Rodriguez was hurt in an accident early in the trip he ( and all of us) were touched by their kindness even more.

Things are running efficiently and effectively now and many children have already received their surgery.  It is always a moving and happy sight to watch these children reunited with their parents in the recovery room and I'm honored to be a part of this.

All my best wishes to you, Ben, if you get to read this.  It was a real pleasure working with you and I hope you are recovering fast.

Charming, Industrious and Extremely Intelligent

Mary Beth Yosses, PACU nurse:  33 hours after leaving my house on 5/11, we arrived at the hotel in BeiBei, a small university town just outside of Chongqing, China. Whew!  It was quite a journey: we had a 7 hour lay over in Hong Kong, a city I find to be more overwhelming than New York!  Today we screened 109 patients during clinic day. We'll do eight cleft lips and palates patients tomorrow, mostly 1- 5 years old but one patient who is 16. 

The people are charming, industrious and extremely intelligent. Luckily we have lots of help with the language from local students who speak better English than me...err...I mean than I. : )

Our team is so terrific. Everybody is cooperative, hardworking, good natured.  The food is outrageously delicious and just as outrageously spicy (and it's been toned WAY down for us).  Stay tuned for more posts from more Interplast volunteers here in Chongqing over the next two weeks.