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« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »

Oprah Audience Members: Think of Interplast!

Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey gave more than 300 audience members $1,000 debit cards to be spent on a charitable cause of their choice.

"You're going to open your hearts, you're going to be really creative, and you're going to spend it all at once on one stranger or spend a dollar on every person," Winfrey said. "Imagine the love and kindness you can spread with $1,000."

Interplast thinks this is a great way for Oprah to encourage philanthropy by giving her audience the opportunity to feel what it's like to donate $1,000 and really change the lives of those in need.

So in case any of you audience members are wondering how to spend the money, we'd like to remind you that:

  • $250 provides surgery for a child who has no other access to care  to repair his or her cleft lip or palate at an Interplast Surgical Outreach Center;
  • $300 enables an impoverished child suffering from a disabling burn to receive surgery at an Interplast Surgical Outreach Center, so that he or she can walk, run and move freely again;
  • $750 sponsors a life-changing surgery for one child on an Interplast surgical team trip;
  • $1,000 helps a surgeon in the developing world receive further training through a visiting educator workshop.

Even a cursory glance at our blog will show you the faces and stories of the children who suffer from disabling burns, hand injuries or clefts---like Kamala (see the most recent posts) and My Linh (before and after.  So if you are still wondering how to spend the $1,000, please keep Interplast in mind to help those who have no other access to surgical care!

Kamala Will Return Next Year

  Kamala with Interplast doctors post-op 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Her plan is to have her return to our clinic next year in Dehradun, where she can be evaluated for a second stage of surgeries to further correct her deformities.

Medial Canthoplasty and Nasal Osteotomy

  Kamala undergoing surgery 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Kamala successfully underwent a medial canthoplasty and nasal osteotomy with bone and cartilage grafts from her rib by Dr. Navin Singh.

A Happy Teenager, Unbroken By Tragedies

  A Happy Teenager 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Her guardian described Kamala to me as an intelligent and kind person who is determined to overcome her challenges. Upon meeting her, Kamala struck me, as well as other team members, as a happy teenager, whose spirit has not been broken despite her tragedies.

Coming to Interplast for Reconstructive Surgery

Because of the distance of her village in the mountains, she has not been able to see her mother or siblings since arriving to the medical home seven months ago. Her father has been able to come to see her a few times and has come down since learning of the arrival of the Interplast surgical team. She was brought to our clinic by her guardian at the home, who found out about us from local advertising.

Stopped Attending School

  Kamala on crutches 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Back home in her village, she had to stop attending school. She wanted to get a prosthesis and learn to walk again, but it was impossible to get the assistance she needed at home. Last February, she moved into a home for children with disabilities in Dehradun. She began her long-awaited physical therapy and got a prosthesis for her right lower leg. She is now able to walk with crutches.

Continue reading "Stopped Attending School" »

Six months in the hospital recovering

  Kamala and pediatrician Janet Volpe 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Kamala's father relays that after pulling her off the tree, her friends began to make a lot of noise, in hopes of scaring the leopard away. The plan worked, but not before Kamala was clawed in the face, leaving her with deep lacerations and bony deformities of her right orbit and nose. One of Kamala's friends ran to Kamala's mother, who was nearby in the family's village. Someone in the village owned a car and took Kamala on the two-hour ride to the closest hospital. She spent six months in the hospital recovering. There were no other injuries, apart from the lower leg amputation and facial injuries. Miraculously, her eyesight was not affected. She spent the next several months going back and forth to the hospital for further management of the amputation. She did not have any type of operation to her face.

Trying to escape the leopard

  Kamala at Interplast Clinic 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Four years ago, at the age of 12, Kamala was attacked by a leopard as she was gathering firewood for her family in a nearby forest. She recalls vividly the events leading up to the attack. She had been in the forest with some friends. Upon suddenly spotting the leopard, she quickly climbed a nearby tree and began screaming as the leopard started running towards her. The leopard followed her up the tree and grabbed her right lower leg with its jaws. As it pulled her off the tree, she was knocked unconscious. Her next memory is awakening in a hospital bed with her right lower leg amputated.

Kamala: Leopard Attack Victim

  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Kamala is a bright 16-year-old female who came to clinic with a facial deformity causing her right eye to hang significantly lower than her left eye. She comes from the Almora district of the Indian Himalayas. It is a 12-hour bus ride away from Dehradun, high in the mountains. She is the oldest of five children.

Global Health