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Hand Therapy

  Pam Changing Jorge's Dressing 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Mary Whitehead, coordinator / translator:  Jorge injured his hand two years ago while fixing the tiles on his roof. His ladder broke and he tried to stop himself from falling by grabbing the end of the roof. He ended up cutting his hand across the palm, severing tendons and nerves. He's so happy that we've come to help him recover the use of his hand. Pam Silverman, our hand therapist is shown here changing his dressing and teaching him exercises to improve his mobility once his hand heals.

Patients Helping Patients

  Anesthesiologist Fred Mihm and Evelyn 
  Originally uploaded by interplast.

Mary Whitehead, coordinator / translator:  Six-year -old Evelyn is such a sweetie. Both she and another little boy were brought to the PACU (recovery room). She was going to have a block done before her surgery and he was having a dressing change. She had to wait for her procedure and was busy coloring. The boy was very nervous and anxious and she picked up on it and started talking to him to distract him. He got so engaged with her that he made it through the dressing change unscathed. For being so young, her instincts and compassion are amazing.

Clinic Day

Jim Dirck, Interplast staff: Our team trip to Bolivia is one that has special considerations for our equipment and supplies to clear inspections prior to use by our volunteers at the host facility.  Detailed documents are prepared by Interplast staff and then sent along to be "authenticated" by governmental agencies.  Once all the paperwork is in order, Bolivian Customs requires an inspection quarantine clearance period of 3-5 days.  During this time, equipment and supplies are matched to the detailed documents and various signatures from local officials are needed to release the items for delivery to the hospital where our team will use them to perform the surgeries...

Anna Maria and I arrived in La Paz at 5:30 AM and there to greet us was our host surgeon and some of his team...  Our documents were collected and the 17 containers of equipment were released after a brief review of the paperwork with the 15 boxes of supplies held pending inspection... 
Later that day we are off to accompany our host surgeon, Jorge Terrazas, to a TV station where our volunteer surgical trip is publicized and an 800 number is given out to the public to provides free access to more information for potential patients...  The 800 number and a cell phone was donated by a local provider for the duration of this surgical team trip to Jorge... 

We do a total 3 TV interviews and the 800 number rings continuously with patients given days and times to attend one of the pre-screening clinics where their conditions are assessed and cases prioritized for further review by the Interplast team... 
The Thursday clinic is busy with children, teenagers and adults arriving to be examined.  It is during this time that a 4-year-old boy by the name of Jonathan is ushered into the room by the nurse with his mother and father.  He tugs on the sleeve of his sweater to uncover his hand and holds up badly burned fingers which are stiffly contracted.  He rises on his toes in order to be seen by the doctors seated around the screening desk.  Since he is still too small to place his arm on the table top, he is scooped up and placed on his mother´s lap and his hand is placed on a small pillow.  Jonathan´s hand was burned about two years ago and the family could not afford to have surgery.  His little hand and fingers are moved about and reviewed by the group...  Some good news for Jhonatan: his parents are handed a slip of paper with the letter "A" written across it and stamped with a small seal...  He is going through to the next step...

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