Scenes From the Field: November Medical Missions
FAMILY MEMBERS GIVE BACK IN MEXICO
“THIS PAST NOVEMBER, a medical mission team spent a week in Oaxaca, Mexico. The team bonded quickly and worked well together, having a combined experience in over 300 missions. In Oaxaca, the team was able to perform 99 safe surgeries — providing 99 children with new smiles. The life-changing surgeries a medical mission provides also create bonds between medical staff, patients and their families — including the Martinez family in Oaxaca. Their daughter, Sofia, had received cleft palate surgery a few months earlier and they felt compelled to give back. The parents and grandmother of Sofia came to the site where the team was working every morning during screening and surgery week to provide extra food for the patients. Sofia’s cousin also joined our team of nonmedical volunteers helping with charts and assisted as a translator for the brand team while they were here. Thank you for your gifts that make these connections and these surgeries possible."
“There's one patient that has come into the hospital every day this week. Juan is a 17-year-old that lives in a small town about an hour-and-a-half away. He was born with a cleft lip and palate, both of which were repaired when he was younger at the cleft center at the Hospital de la Niñez Oaxaqueño. He heard we were doing a mission and came to screening to see if it was possible for him to receive a lip scar revision. During screening, he was introduced to speech therapy, a consultation he had not received on his prior visits. Beth and Edile, our two speech pathologists, say that he was hesitant about the therapy. They asked him, ‘Please just come again for a consultation on Monday – we promise you will get something out of it.’ Not only did he come Monday, but every day for an hour per day until today, when he received his lip scar revision surgery. I asked him while he was waiting in pre-op what his favorite thing was about Operation Smile, and he said his time working with speech. He had never had a health professional so engaged with his personal performance and, although it was only a few days, he feels like he has learned so much. Here’s a picture of him and his mother before surgery. As I was talking to Juan, his mother ran over as if to translate what he was saying. However, he pronounced and emphasized all of his words correctly and she never needed to repeat what he was saying.” – Drea Meyer, Operation Smile program coordinator.
Safi, Morocco: 173 patients received surgery
“Sbira, a 22-year-old man who received cleft lip surgery, pulled out his phone and asked for photos with our lovely pediatrician, Dr. Michael Hofmann, and one of our pre/post-op nurses, Carmel Corso. Sbira traveled more than 20 hours, via bus and walking, to the mission site by himself. Team members talked about how quiet, kind and collected he is. As our last patient on the table, Dr. Shadi Alsmadi, our pediatric intensivist, spoke to me about him on the way back to the hotel. Not only did he travel a very long distance all by himself, but he was so sure in his disposition and with his words about coming to Operation Smile Morocco. He never cried, never seemed overwhelmed nor overjoyed in his expressions – just calm and sure that this is what he needed. This surgery is what would positively impact his life. From babies to older adults, the humbleness of our patients and guardians cannot he reiterated enough.” – Madison Ebel, Operation Smile program coordinator.