ReSurge's visiting educator program is an essential component of our commitment to creating sustainability in the delivery of reconstructive surgical care in some of the world's most under-resourced communities. To learn more, visit our website.
ReSurge's visiting educator program is an essential component of our commitment to creating sustainability in the delivery of reconstructive surgical care in some of the world's most under-resourced communities. To learn more, visit our website.
Dr. Tom Davenport, ReSurge International board member and former Webster Fellow, will be one of the speakers for a United Nations side event during the Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations on Thursday at UN Headquarters in New York City.
Davenport will join panelists from the World Bank, Clinton Global Initiative, Disease Control Priorities Network and Frontline Health Workers Coalition to discuss “Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Investments in Essential Health Services: The Role of Civil Society.” The event is hosted by the International Federation of Surgical Colleges and the G4 Alliance, a global surgery advocacy coalition of which ReSurge is a founding member.
The focus of the March Intergovernmental Negotiations is the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. The SDGs are a global set of goals, targets and indicators being developed to measure progress in global development over the next 15 years.
The event on Thursday will focus on universal health coverage (UHC) and the role of essential health services, including maternal and child health care, surgical care, injury and trauma care, rehabilitation and treatment of chronic conditions. The speakers will address the following themes: defining UHC and essential services, patient needs and effective interventions, economic implications of UHC as part of the SDGs, appropriate indicators to measure progress, and the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration.
ReSurge is grateful to Davenport, a reconstructive plastic surgeon and partner with Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, for taking time out of his schedule to advocate for the neglected surgical patient at the UN on Thursday. More than 2 billion people lack access to basic surgical services worldwide, with less than 4 percent of all operations being delivered to the world’s poorest citizens. Below is a list of all of the speakers for the side event, which will take place from 6:30-7:45pm EST.
For 18-year-old Sergio in Ecuador, one February morning at the factory where he worked manufacturing school supplies began like any other day. Little did he know that an accident was coming that would change his life forever.
A year earlier, Sergio had convinced his parents, Bruno and Cristina, to let him go to work to help provide money for the family and support his studies. He lives in Guayaquil, near Ecuador's western coast, and needed money to pay for a distance learning program to complete his high school degree. He is now in his third year with the program.
He had not been on the job at the manufacturing plant long when one morning he was working on a machine with a saw and asked a co-worker to turn the machine off because he needed to reach his hand inside. The co-worker didn't hear him because of the loud noise in the factory. When Sergio reached his hand inside, it got caught by the machine's saw.
His hand was cut completely off at the wrist, and the saw also cut off his pinky finger and the tips of his fingers.
His co-workers acted quickly, putting the severed hand on ice and taking him to Luis Vernaza Hospital, where the director of our Surgical Outreach Program, Dr. Jorge Palacios, and his team operate.
Upon arrival at the hospital with his parents, the doctors they saw told them the hand could not be saved. Jorge was already in another surgery at the time, but Dr. Lorena Escudero, another surgeon on his team and Jorge's former resident, came to consult with him and told him with confidence that she could surgically reattach the hand. He gave his approval, and Sergio's parents agreed to let them try the procedure.
It was an extremely complex operation that lasted six hours, in which Lorena and a team of Jorge's surgical residents reconnected the bones, tendons, three major nerves, blood vessels and skin to restore function to the hand.
The operation was successful, and is a historic event for the field of plastic surgery in Ecuador. It is the first successful hand replantation ever performed at Luis Vernaza Hospital; not only that — only one other hand replantation has ever been successfully performed in the entire country, at a hospital in Quito in 2007.
ReSurge was thrilled when Jorge told us about this incredible accomplishment — particularly because Lorena and the surgical residents who performed the hand replantation have received training on multiple ReSurge Visiting Educator trips.
"ReSurge is always supporting us by sending visiting professors. They were really a great influence in this," Jorge said.
He also reminded us that just a few months ago, we sent two pairs of magnifying loupes used in these types of surgeries. Those were the very loupes used for Sergio's hand replantation surgery.
"So you can understand how great this is for us. I hope we never finish this interchange, because we are looking at the results here — improving professional skills and, really, changing lives," Jorge continued.
"It is great, because ReSurge lets people grow. You give them the responsibility to do things. If you overprotect them, they will never learn. But if you give them wings, they will learn to fly."
Sergio's recovery after surgery has gone very well. Blood is flowing to the hand, he has feeling in it, and he already has limited movement in his fingers. The surgeons are hopeful that with time, he will regain a significant amount of function in his hand.
He will require a great deal of physical therapy and rehabilitation over the coming year, but he is in great spirits already.
After Sergio's surgery, Lorena was checking on his progress and asked him how he is feeling, and he said he was feeling so good he wanted a big meal of rice, beans and cuy (guinea pig) — a delicacy in some parts of Ecuador. Lorena, who is not a fan of the dish, joked that if he ate that in front of her, she would cut his hand off again.
"He is a very positive boy, and he will definitely not pass up any opportunity to work on his rehabilitation," said Jorge.
Sergio is already eager to get back to work when he is able. He has plans to study at a university once he finishes high school. He will have to learn to write and do other things with his left hand, since the injured hand is his dominant one, but with his spirit and the long-term help from our partners in Ecuador, he is on his way.
We are grateful to our supporters for their part in helping us bring critical surgical training to local medical professionals around the world, and to the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group for their commitment to bring future training to Ecuador.
Imagine getting the chance to train with the world's foremost expert in your line of work. For a group of surgical trainees in Vietnam, this week has presented them with just such an opportunity.
This week, ReSurge has a small team of world-class educators teaching reconstructive surgical techniques to local surgical trainees in order to improve their skills in treating microtia—a congenital deformity where the outer ear is underdeveloped.
This Visiting Educator trip is part of our ReSurge International in Vietnam: Advanced Surgical Training (ReVAST) program, supported by funding from Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). The long-term objective of the ReVAST program is to train physicians in reconstructive surgical techniques, who will then treat more than 5,400 children within the next five years.
The primary educators on this Visiting Educator trip to Vietnam are Dr. Charles Thorne from NYU Langone Medical Center and Dr. Wojciech Dec from Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital; they are also joined by Dr. John Paro, a plastic surgery resident at Stanford University.
The microtia reconstruction procedure the doctors are teaching this week involves removing a portion of cartilage from the patient’s rib and sculpting it to create the framework for a new ear. The framework is then placed in a pocket under the skin on the scalp.
Drs. Thorne and Dec are teaching microtia surgical techniques through a combination of classroom lectures, ear carving demonstrations (see images below) and hands-on training in the operating room while treating a patient with microtia.
This Visiting Educator program fits into our broader ReSurge Global Training Program, which aims to create the next generation of humanitarian reconstructive surgical teams in developing countries. ReSurge has engaged approximately 40 expert academic faculty to participate in this program, which uses customized curriculum components based on local needs, and evaluates and assesses local trainees using globally standardized surgical classification methods.
ReSurge is incredibly excited to be kicking off the ReVAST program with such a successful Visiting Educator trip, and we are grateful to RMHC for its ongoing commitment to our work.
This week, one of our Visiting Educator teams has been hard at work in Harare, Zimbabwe, training local medical professionals in a wide range of reconstructive surgical techniques.
Dr. Deepak Narayan, a professor of plastic surgery at Yale University, and Dr. Gordon Lee, a professor of plastic surgery at Stanford University, are at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare this week, teaching surgical residents and local staff with the university's department of surgery. They are joined by Dr. Rebecca Garza, a surgical resident at Stanford University, who is serving as a resident educator on the trip.
The Visiting Educator program is an essential component of ReSurge’s commitment to creating sustainability in the delivery of reconstructive surgical care to those around the world who need it most. Expert volunteer medical professionals like Drs. Lee and Narayan travel to developing countries with this program to provide direct, hands-on training for local medical personnel who work with low-income children and adults.
The week-long training in Harare includes classroom teaching with lectures, question-and-answer sessions and, importantly, the opportunity to observe and participate in supervised, hands-on surgical care in the operating room.
The focus of this training is full scope reconstructive surgery, so there is a wide range of lecture topics, including lower limb extremity reconstruction, tumors and breast reconstruction.
The team also handled surgical cases this week in the OR that ranged from polydactyly (extra fingers or toes) and syndactyly (conjoined fingers or toes) to burn scar contractures to nasal reconstruction.
We are incredibly grateful to Drs. Lee, Narayan and Garza for sharing their expertise with these trainees and look forward to further partnership and work in Zimbabwe.
When baby Chi was born five months ago with a cleft lip and palate, her parents sent her far away to live with her maternal grandmother.
Because of the social stigma often attached to babies born with deformities like clefts in Vietnam, Chi’s parents wanted to hide her. Chi’s paternal grandparents rejected her, and her father said he would leave if Chi wasn’t sent away.
We met baby Chi and her grandmother on a recent surgical team trip to Phan Rang, a city in southern Vietnam. They had traveled from Phuoc Binh – Bac Ai, a district a couple of hours north of Phan Rang.
Our team evaluated Chi and accepted her for surgery to repair her cleft lip, which volunteer surgeon Dr. June Wu performed beautifully.
Chi's mother and father were also at the hospital during her operation, but unfortunately seemed detached from their daughter, as they had not spent time with her during these early months of her life.
One of our team members asked if Chi would be able to stay in Phan Rang with her parents after her operation and was told that she would have to go back home with her grandmother until her cleft is completely repaired.
We are glad to know that Chi is recovering well and is on her way to living a life free of the social rejection that sadly faces too many people with clefts. We are also grateful that she has a loving grandmother who is not ashamed of her and who will care for her in her journey to health and acceptance.
– By Cessie Spearing, ReSurge Communications Coordinator
My alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. and I bolt upright, excited. Ever since I joined the ReSurge team I’ve heard about the famous Dr. Goran Jovic and his surgical trips to rural Zambia by way of a Cessna 182, which he flies himself. Today he has agreed to allow me to accompany him on one such trip to Mongu in the western province near the Angolan border.
After a quick cup of coffee at his house, we wait for Goran’s resident, Dr. Jonathan Chituwo, to join us. He often goes with Goran on his trips upcountry to assist. By six o’clock, he has arrived and we have loaded up our small bags, a box of surgical gowns and a duffel bag of medical supplies into the cab of Goran’s 4-wheel drive Toyota and head out of Lusaka toward the airstrip. The sun is just peeking over the horizon, and the houses thin as we leave the city and turn onto a dirt road about 30 minutes later.
We stop at a large metal gate at the entrance to the ranch when the plane is stored. “Get out and touch the bottom of your shoes in that basin there,” Goran instructs me.
For a split second I wonder if he’s pulling a prank on me, asking me to do odd things just to see if I will. But he himself gets out of the cab and steps in a basin of liquid with a strong chemical smell. I quickly follow suit as Goran explains: “Owner’s requirement. Prevents foot and mouth disease.”
The three of us pull up to the large metal hangar, and Goran busies himself checking the aircraft and scrawling in the flight book. The morning air is crisp, and golden light washes the plane when we push it out of the hangar. When the plane is ready we climb in and prepare for take off. As we start down the grass-covered airstrip, a troop of vervet monkeys scatters.
Before I realize it, we’re off the ground and climbing through the sky. At 6,500 feet, we level out. Goran relaxes, and as we sail along he points out rivers and national parks down below.
Around 9:30 a.m. we land at the tiny airport in Mongu. We wait on the hot tarmac for our ride to Lewanika General Hospital, and I take the opportunity to ask Goran about these outreach trips and why they are important.
“I go upcountry because that’s where the need is,” he says. “People in the rural areas of Zambia cannot afford to travel to Lusaka for treatment. Many have never left their villages. So we go to them.”
We drive to the hospital through a sandy, arid landscape punctuated by houses made of mud and sticks. The thick layer of brown dust which blankets the road bursts into a billowy cloud behind us as we careen along.
We arrive at the hospital, and Goran and Jonathan walk through a lively corridor of patients who have been recruited as surgery candidates. The two doctors settle in behind a big desk and one by one, patients file in to see the surgeons.
It is dry season, a rare time of year where people are not occupied planting, maintaining or harvesting their crops. The rains and floods have not yet come either, so roads are passable. This makes for Goran’s busiest time of year.
As he and Jonathan see each patient, they begin filling their surgery schedule for the next few days. One page in Goran’s planner fills, then the next. He turns to me.
“Remember how I told you we go back to Lusaka by Saturday?” I nod. “Plan on being back Sunday afternoon,” he says with a cheeky grin.
As the only practicing reconstructive surgeon in a country of 14.5 million people, Goran is used to keeping busy.
Over the days that follow, Goran and Jonathan will forever change the lives of nearly 20 patients – the majority of whom are children and adults with disabling burn scar contractures. Patients who otherwise would have no hope of receiving the surgical care they need to be independent, healthy and productive members of society.
We at ReSurge are incredibly proud to partner with exceptionally dedicated and talented health workers like Goran all over the world. And our mission is to build surgical skills in low-resource settings and to continue developing the next generation of humanitarian reconstructive surgical teams, so that where a person lives – whether it’s in the mountains of Peru or the floodplains of Zambia – doesn’t determine whether they get the medical care they need to live and thrive in their community.
Next month, ReSurge will be joining the fun with one of our most dedicated funding partners, Barco's Nightingales Foundation, in their annual Walk for Kids event - and we invite our friends in the L.A. area to join us!
Each year, Barco's Nightingales Foundation and its founders, Michael and Frida Donner, join Camp Ronald McDonald For Good Times in this Walk for Kids benefit. The walk raises much-needed funds for children with medical needs, while also honoring the nurses who care for them.
ReSurge is enormously grateful for the support and funds that Barco's Nightingales Foundation has committed to our work in conjunction with this walk in previous years.
We have formed a team to participate in the event, and if you or someone you know will be in the Los Angeles area next month, we would love for you to join our team in the walk!
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Registration: 7 a.m.; Walk starts at 8 a.m.
Exposition Park, Los Angeles
If you have any questions about the event, please contact Suzanne Barron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thuong, 17, has a bright smile and a deep-seated kindness, despite the fact that she has spent far more time in hospitals than most girls her age.
When she was 10 years old, Thuong was studying in her home when the electricity went out. Determined to continue her studies, she fetched a kerosene lamp to give her light.
Kerosene lamps are used widely in rural areas of Asia and Africa, where electricity is not reliably available. There are dangers in using combustion lamps like these, however, including indoor air pollution and the risk of fire or explosion.
Tragically, in Thuong's case the lamp suddenly exploded. She survived, but sustained severe burns on more than 70% of her body.
We met Thuong and her mother on a recent surgical team trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It took them six hours of travel by bus to come and see our team on clinic day. Prior to seeing our team, Thuong had already had 13 hospitalizations for her burn injuries.
The team examined Thuong and took particular note of burn scar contractures that had formed on her neck, preventing her from fully lifting her head. Despite the hardships she has faced in her young life, Thuong has a bright spirit and smiled at everyone she saw on the team.
Dr. Jorge Palacios, director of our Surgical Outreach Program in Ecuador, was on the trip and determined that he could help give her head and neck more mobility and function.
During surgery, Dr. Palacios released the contracture on Thuong's neck and grafted additional tissue to the area, which will allow her to lift and move her head much more easily. The operation went well, and even in the recovery room as she awoke from surgery, Thuong was already smiling with gratitude.
Burn injuries like Thuong's are unfortunately not uncommon in many parts of the world. Learn more about burns and how we are leading the way in burn care.
If you have the privilege of meeting Marelyn, you will be overcome with the warmth and confidence she exudes. Despite the scars that cover most of her face and body, you will inevitably be struck with how beautiful she is.
Marelyn had a horrific accident more than 10 years ago that would have left most people broken for the rest of their lives. The fact that Marelyn has grown to be the captivating young woman she is today is nothing short of astounding—a true testament to both her inner strength and the transformative power of reconstructive surgery.
On the fateful day of the accident, Marelyn’s mother was cooking in the kitchen with her back to the door when she heard a deafening explosion and felt a ball of heat blast against her back. She turned to see her daughter completely engulfed in flames and screaming for her. A gas lamp had exploded in Marelyn’s face. She was so burned and covered in fire that she was unrecognizable. Marelyn’s mother could not tell which one of her daughters was burning.
Marelyn’s mother threw herself around her and brought her to the ground to extinguish the flames. Marelyn was rushed to the hospital in Managua but her prognosis was not good. She had sustained second- and third-degree burns on 49% of her body. In some places, the burn injuries were so deep that Marelyn felt no pain, an indication that the nerves of her skin had been completely burned away. The doctors were not even sure that she would live.
Marelyn survived the accident but her body would never be the same. As her wounds closed, scars formed and thickened pulling her skin taut and restricting her movement. Had the scarring gone untreated, it could have left Marelyn disabled. Thankfully, however, she was referred to ReSurge International’s partner surgeons in Nicaragua, Dr. Mario Perez and Dr. Humberto Briceño, who have since worked tirelessly to release Marelyn’s scar contractures so she can maintain the mobility of her body.
Today, Marelyn has had more than 20 operations to reduce the burn scar contractures that formed after her accident. Her relationship with her surgeons has grown to supersede that of a typical physician and patient. As her mother puts it, “Dr. Perez and Dr. Briceño gave us back hope. Now, they are family to us.”
Last year, a ReSurge team spent a week in Nicaragua working with Drs. Perez and Briceño. One of their patients was Marelyn. The team of volunteers marveled at Marelyn’s poise and pleasant nature and was excited to learn that she is studying to become an accountant. The procedure was more minor compared to some of the others Marelyn has had—the team released scars on Marelyn’s face that had begun to pull at her mouth and pull her cheeks down. The surgery was successful, Marelyn has recovered and is well on her way to achieving her dreams.
For more than 10 years, there was little that Irene had to smile about. Until recently, her life had been checkered with tragedies that left her family torn apart and Irene without a future.
When she was only 8 years old, Irene was cooking in her village in Zambia with her baby brother bound to her back in the traditional “chitenge” cloth. The flames of the open fire leapt up suddenly with a gust of wind, and Irene’s clothes ignited. The chitenge caught fire, and Irene screamed and spun around as she realized the danger her little brother was in.
By the time help had arrived, it was too late. Though Irene and her brother were rushed to the local clinic, the baby boy died before they arrived. The family was heartbroken. Irene herself had suffered severe burn injuries all along the left side of her body. She received limited treatment for her wounds and was sent home back to her village.
Without the necessary therapy and splinting, as Irene’s wounds healed the skin that formed toughened and grew tight with scars. The scarring drew Irene’s arm up and fused the forearm to her bicep.
Irene’s upper arm fused to her chest and her hand bent inwards as her palm fused to her forearm. Instead of an arm, Irene was left with little more than a wing-like appendage.
Irene soon lost hope that anything could ever be done and tried to acclimate to the idea that she would live the rest of her life with only one arm and hand. Years passed and the sad little girl grew up quiet and painfully conscious of the gawking her disfigured arm caused.
She wore her chitenge over the wing so people could not stare. She tried to help her mother with chores around the house, but with only one arm functioning, she was very limited in what she could do.
What could have been a sad ending to a sad story changed the day Irene met Dr. Goran Jovic, the director of ReSurge's Surgical Outreach Program in Lusaka, Zambia. Irene’s mother was moved by the help he provided. Through reconstructive surgery, Goran was able to release the scars that bound Irene’s arm into a ball. After more than 10 years, Irene could at last extend her arm again.
When Goran examined her after her procedure, she winced with a little discomfort as she lifted her arm but also looked at him with a new expression on her face. It was the first time Goran had ever seen her smile.
Goran has plans to release her hand from her wrist next. With newly restored function to her arm and the ability to one day grasp and hold objects, new opportunities to be independent, productive and to help her family will finally be available to her. Finally, Irene has something to smile about.
By now, you're likely familiar with crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter - and may have even contributed to a campaign yourself.
Today, ReSurge is excited to announce our own new online fundraising platform where you can create your own crowdfunding page to support our work!
You may remember that back in September we introduced you to a little boy named Lyric whose parents decided to celebrate his first birthday in an unconventional way. Instead of birthday presents for Lyric, they asked their family and friends to make a donation to ReSurge to support life-changing cleft lip and palate operations.
They came up with the idea to set up an online fundraising page, giving Lyric’s gift-givers a quick, easy way to make a donation. Nearly all of their guests at Lyric’s birthday party donated to ReSurge at the party!
Now, we've made it easy for you to do the same! Whether you want to plan a special event like a birthday party or barbecue - or if you simply want to raise money among your friends and family because you want to support our mission - you can help provide quality surgical care for children and adults in developing countries by starting your own campaign using our new online fundraising platform.
Once you create your account and personal fundraising page, you will have access to the platform’s easy-to-use web tools designed for collecting donations and tracking your progress, sharing your page online and sending personal messages to friends and family in your network.
Have questions or need ideas for an event? Feel free to contact us at email@example.com or call 408-737-8743, and we’ll make sure you have everything you need to start your campaign.
In collaboration with the Congressional Global Health Caucus, ReSurge International and the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anesthesia Care (G4 Alliance) organized the first congressional briefing on the need for surgery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) on February 4, 2015.
ReSurge’s consulting medical officer, Dr. Jim Chang, and eight other speakers from the American College of Surgeons, academia, business and other NGOs came together to increase awareness and political will, which are crucial to closing the surgical gap, saving lives and preventing life-long disabilities.
Currently, more than two billion people lack access to basic surgical services worldwide, with less than 4 percent of all operations being delivered to the poorest 1/3 of the world’s population. This represents a public health challenge that disproportionately impacts the most marginalized individuals in society, especially women and children.
Illustrating this point, several speakers gave alarming statistics, including:
For a great recap of the conversation around the briefing, click below for a summary from Twitter:
"The lack of trained workforce is the critical issue, with a global health workforce shortage of more than 4.2 million,” continued Dr. Girma Tefera, medical director of Operation Giving Back, American College of Surgeons.
“Delivering and teaching surgery in the developing world can be cost-effective in the right models,” said Dr. Jim Chang, ReSurge. “ReSurge is committed to training the next generation of reconstructive surgeons.”
The main messages conveyed at the briefing were that essential surgical care and anesthesia:
1. Intersect with all known disease categories, from trauma and congenital deformities to maternal health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
2. Are critical components to provide universal health coverage and health systems strengthening
3. Prevent permanent disability and life-threatening conditions, which in turn improve economic outcomes and sustainable development
4. Are cost-effective and on par with some traditional public health interventions
Moreover, the speakers gave examples of existing models, health care training initiatives and products that their individual organizations successfully used to increase access to care.
The speakers urged U.S. leadership and investment in global surgery and applauded the United States' support of the WHO resolution on strengthening surgical care and anesthesia as a component of universal health coverage.
“Surgery is too expensive not to invest in when you consider the alternative of unnecessary life-long disabilities,” said Erin Steiber, vice president for strategic partnerships, Smile Train. [A recent United Nations report found that for every $1 spent on strengthening local surgical capacity, $10 was generated through enhanced health and increased productivity.]
“The next step in global health is to better utilize the investments made for infectious diseases for the entire health system,” said Justin Koester, co-chair, NCD Roundtable and senior international relations specialist, Medtronic, Inc.
“The United States is the world’s healthcare leader and must lead to help improve access to surgery,” concluded Dr. Ray Price, of the American College of Surgeons International Relations Committee. “Investing in surgical care capacity strengthens the entire health system by default.”
ReSurge is most grateful to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, the members of the Congressional Global Health Caucus, the G4 Alliance and to our expert speakers for an historic day for the global surgery community. A complete list of speakers follows.
For more information, please contact Sara Anderson, ReSurge's chief advocacy officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a tiring two weeks in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, but the outcome of all the hard work was profound. Our team of volunteers along with our local Vietnamese partners was able to provide 81 surgical procedures to 52 patients. Some patients had tight scarring from burn injuries released giving them increased mobility, others had a congenital eyelid condition corrected to allow them to see better, and others had surgeries which relieved them of stigma they had faced in their communities.
Thuan is a one such patient. He is 15 years old and lives in the Dong Thap province of Vietnam. He lived his entire life with a disfiguring lesion on his face that left him ostracized and made to feel different. The lesion covered much of his left cheek and caused people to stare at him. Although he and his family sought treatment in Dong Thap, the doctors there were unable to help him. Instead they had heard about the ReSurge team coming to Ho Chi Minh City and urged Thuan to travel there to see if something could be done.
The trip was not easy and took six hours by bus. Once he arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, however, Thuan was thrilled to meet our volunteers and smiled shyly at them when they told him they could help.
The operation went smoothly and afterwards, Thuan shared a moment with ReSurge volunteer nurse, Rochelle (pictured below).
We thank all of our volunteers for donating their time and talent to helping individuals just like Thuan!
The team in Ho Chi Minh City is still hard at work providing surgery for both children and adults who desperately need it in Vietnam. Joining the team is a ReSurge staff member, Jay Dumanian, from our Programs team. This week he sent us a very touching story about one of the patients they've seen there:
Last week I met Lan, a woman who, in a horrific accident, was burned on the left side of her face and her neck a year ago after falling into her stove while cooking. The burn injuries she sustained caused her skin to scar and draw up, pulling down on her lower eye lid. When we saw her on clinic day, she was not able to close her left eye due to the contracture of her burn scars.
Without surgery, our volunteer surgeons, Dr. Jorge Palacios and Dr. Eric Mooney, believed she would eventually lose her eye, as her cornea would dry out. She lives with her husband and their children, and when the husband goes to work and the children go to school, she is alone all day.
The surgeons scheduled her for an operation to try and release the contracture and restore her eyelid's function.
The morning of Thursday, January 29, Dr. Palacios released part of her burn scar, and grafted a piece of skin above her left eye to improve the eye's function. Before her surgery, Hung, her son, who came with her to the hospital, kept asking the translators to tell the surgeons to "please do a good job" on his mother.
So far, the surgery has been a success, and she is resting and recovering in the hospital's ward with her son keeping her company.
(Originally published by the Frontline Health Workers Coalition)