Phalodi, India | January 29 – February 4
The MMFC team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, dentists, and non-medical volunteers from the U.S., Peru and Canada returned to Phalodi once again for its annual week-long surgical mission. The team arrived in Phalodi on Sunday evening, January 29th, and got to work evaluating a few kids preselected by the local hospital staff for surgery the next day.
On Monday, the team began screening all the kids and adults who had come in from the surrounding villages, one from as far as 200km away. The local hospital’s public relations officer Mr. Devi Singh, works diligently to spread the word months in advance so that the families can travel to Phalodi in time for our visit.
The team evaluated 40 already screened patients, and performed 23 surgical procedures. The dental team screened 125 patients and provided Dental Health and Hygiene education to 150 school children.
Every child we see touches our hearts. Shiv is one of them.
Shiv was a little 3 year boy who was found by the Mr. Devi Singh in 2011. The MMFC team evaluation found him to be anemic and unfit for surgery. They did a nutrition consult, instructing the family to follow up with the local hospital, and decided to reevaluate him the next year.
In 2012, Shiv returned to the hospital and underwent surgery to repair his cleft lip and palate. Shiv’s post-op recovery was unusually stressful – he cried for 24hrs straight. Upon further inquiry, the team found out that his parents had been giving him opium to keep him calm. His little body was going through withdrawals. After his surgery, Shiv was lost to follow up for the next 2yrs.
In 2014, after an extensive search by Dr. Jain and Mr. Singh, Shiv returned to the hospital to be evaluated by the MMFC team. They discovered that he had been abandoned by his parents and was being cared for by his maternal grandmother and Uncle. They also saw that his prior cleft repair had fallen apart. Shiv needed to undergo surgery again but was not fit at that time. The team provided a nutritional consult and recommended follow up with the local doctor.
Shiv did not show up at the hospital for the 2015 mission visit. In 2016 once again, the Mr. Singh conducted an extensive search and located him in time for the 2017 mission visit. Shiv was admitted into hospital two weeks prior to the visit. During screening, the team found him in good health and ready for surgery.
His surgery was very complex that it required, not only all entire surgical team on the ground, but it included a live interactive video conference with Dr. Dennis Snyder back in Boston. This is the first time MMFC has use real time, interactive technology to collaborate across continents.
Shiv is now a healthier 8yr old, outgoing, engaging, unafraid of the team doctors, with quite the flare for fashion. Shiv’s success would not have been possible without the generosity of Helpers and Joy Venturini Bianchi.
It is never too late to change one’s look – Meet Kabu Ram
Kabu Ram is a 28 year old father of three. Mr. Sing noticed in him 5 years ago and invited him to visit the hospital for an evaluation during one of the mission visits. Due to family and work commitments, Mr. Ram kept postponing his evaluation.
Mr. Singh’s persistence paid off and this year Mr. Ram took 2 days off work and came into to see the teams. His procedure took 45 minutes and per his wishes, he was able to keep his mustache and tooth.
In the recovery room, when he woke up and saw himself in the mirror for the first time, he cried. In 48 hours he had a new look and we gave him a new smile.
Despite the arduous journey to get to Phalodi, the success of our mission here is due to the stellar team and the very strong 10 year partnership with Dr. Kanti Jain, her family, H.B.S Trust Hospital and all the preparation done by the dedicated local hospital staff.
We look forward to continuing our work with the children of Rajasthan the years to come.