US medical mission benefits 45 patients

FORTY-FIVE more patients with cleft lips, cleft palates and teeth problems can now smile without fear of being bullied due to their deformities.

This after Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) arranged anew the medical-surgical mission of the Faces of Tomorrow (FOT) headed by its director, Dr. Brian Rubinstein. The team performed the corrective surgeries including rhinoplasty on these patients at the Medical Mission Group (MMG) Hospital and Health Services or the Bohol Cooperative Hospital in Dampas District, this city.

 Aumentado said the team members come from different states in America while the Abounding in Love Foundation (ALF), a Cebu-based non-profit organization connected the Filipino children to opportunities for cleft lip and palate surgeries.

He said his office facilitated the securing of the special permits from the Department of Health for the members to perform surgeries in the Philippines. FOT-Philippines coordinator Charina Torregosa-Asunto did the leg work for the permits and other requirements.

The 35-man team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, nurses, paramedics and their administrative support group performed the surgeries with the help of their counterparts at the MMG Hospital.

The dental group also, demonstrated to volunteers from the Bohol Medical Society headed by Dr. Joanne Flores, the specialized surgical procedure and aftercare, especially that the latter will take over when the FOT returns to the UStomorrow.

The ALF provided medical, educational and spiritual support before and after surgery. All donations it gets go directly to help these disadvantaged children. It provided the fare, accommodations and food for the patients and their parents or watchers during their stay in Tagbilaran City. Rubenstein had said in cases like these, it would be advantageous for the patients the younger they are when the procedures are done. Wounds in young tissues heal quickly – and the stitches become almost unnoticeable as they age, he explained.

The surgeries started on Monday, Feb. 12. But the number of surgeries stood at 79 because some patients had to undergo several corrective surgeries.

During the testimonial dinner Aumentado tendered Friday at the Dao Diamond Hotel to honor the volunteers, Rubinstein clarified that the rhinoplasty was to adjust the nose so that the patients can breathe easier once their lips and palates were sewed up.

He vowed that his team will return for more surgeries next year. His surgeons and dentists promised to return as well.

For her part, Dr. Heidi Mabatid of MMG Hospital expressed gratitude for the opportunity to host the surgeries. The week was a flurry of work, but it exposed her and the staff to the special procedures that they do not usually do and the experience their schools or training hospitals did not teach.

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