All the kids have clefts, and most are infants or young children. Dr. Quintana commented that he was struck by how healthy these children are; they have good teeth (that means no candy), no anemia and no malnourishment. Often, children with clefts do not get the nutrition they need because their deformed lips cannot create enough suction to breastfeed properly. Others with cleft palates can get food in their mouths, only to have it come out through their nose since the roof of their mouth never effectively formed.
I haven't been on a working trip for a few years. After all these years with Interplast, and being a non-medical person, I still get so moved by the work we do, the privilege it is to be able to watch our teams interact with the kids and their families as they provide this care. Seeing Molly and Patricia be so tender with the post-op children, or seeing their parent or grandparent brought into the PACU to hold them as they emerge from the anesthesia always gets me!