Interplast has instituted very high standards in order to provide safe treatment to these children. Unfortunately, this means that some are turned away due to iron deficiencies and malnutrition. It was very difficult for the surgeons and other professionals to break the news to the families--they came so far, and had so much hope. However, most of the children were surgical candidates, and in the following days, I will share their stories.
In this photo, Dr. Jim Scott, volunteer anesthesiologist from Albuquerque, makes notes about a toddler on clinic day.
Today was clinic day, which (I’ve been told) is usually hectic. Mothers and fathers walked or traveled for hours with their children in hopes that the Interplast team might be able to help them. Most of them were dressed in their traditional clothing--brightly colored sweaters, skirts and hats. Dozens of children were screened, most with cleft lips and/or palates, some with polydactyl and others with burns. Many children that were treated last year by Interplast came back for follow up surgeries. Dr. Joseph Herbert, volunteer pediatrician from Santa Cruz, examines a young boy during clinic.
The region is extremely poor and has very little access to health care. Even if they had services available to them, they couldn’t possibly afford to pay for these surgeries themselves. We are very grateful that so many medical professionals are willing to donate their time and give their services to people who have so little. We are also grateful to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) for providing the funding for this trip. RMHC helps people in the poorest regions of the world, and we are proud to partner with them.
My name is Heidi Huntsman, from Salt Lake City, Utah. While I have served on the Interplast board since June 2004, this is my first Interplast trip. We are visiting Cusco, Peru, which sits high in the Andes—more than 11,000 ft! Most of the indigenous people here are descendants of the Incans, which ruled the region until the mid-1500s. The region is extremely poor and has very little access to health care. Even if they had services available to them, they couldn’t possibly afford to pay for these surgeries themselves.
This is 1 1/2-year old Alan and his mother. He and his mother traveled many hours so that the doctors and nurses of interplast could operate on his cleft lip.