Interplast provides free hand surgeries as a part of its mission to help children with birth defects and injuries. In fact, two of our 18 team trips this year are exclusively dedicated to providing hand surgeries for children with birth defects, burns, and other trauma. Here is an adorable follow up photo of Diego, who you met earlier this week. This morning, he came to see us for a lollipop and a dressing change.
I am Michael Flynn, and I am one of the anesthesiologists on this trip. Today, I was the anesthesiologist on a very touching case to treat a young boy named Joel. He is an adorable 7-year old boy with major burns on his neck and arm causing contractures that prevented him from looking up or raising his left arm.
About a year ago, a kerosene lamp fell on Joel in his house. His parents felt so bad about his awful accident. His father told me they had no choice about using kerosene lamps since there is no electricity in the countryside where they live. They come from Andagueles-Abaycay, a rural district several days outside of Cusco.
His mother told me that Joel is very intelligent and loved going to school. But, after his accident, he got so behind that he hasn’t returned there yet. His parents hope he’ll go back to school after the surgery since he loves playing soccer with the other boys and studying Spanish. Although he looks quite serious in his photos, he did smile at us once in awhile, especially when I gave him some McDonald’s stickers!
There was a small challenge during Joel’s case when an
anesthesia machine at the local hospital malfunctioned and we had to improvise
oxygen supply in the middle of the surgery. Everyone leapt into action to help, just as we had discussed earlier
this week when we “ran the scenarios.” Interplast is very conscious about safety issues, especially with the
unpredictability of working in operating rooms in developing countries. As a result, our medical committees have come
up with various emergency scenarios that we discuss as a team before we begin
surgery on the first day. Every single
member of the team is at this important meeting, where we create a plan of
action for just such a scenario.
I was so proud of the team today. It was amazing to see how everything went so smoothly,
and Joel’s surgery went perfectly as planned. He’s resting tonight. Soon, he
should be able to fully extend his arm and move his neck to look at his father
and point to the goal he just scored…