February 27, 2015
Marjon Rostami, Operation Smile Staff
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Operation Smile’s volunteers have worked tirelessly this week at the medical mission in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, providing life-changing surgeries to 121 patients so far with one more day of surgeries left to go. As families are discharged from the hospital with bright smiles, many more await a chance at a new life.
Last week, the team delivered medical screenings to nearly 230 patients over two days and found that the vast majority of patients were eligible for surgery. Unfortunately, it was simply impossible to reach all those patients during this one week of surgery. In speaking with patients and their families, the volunteers saw so many families who traveled for hours and used the last of their resources to pay for transportation to get here, that Operation Smile felt something had to be done.
On March 15, Operation Smile will do something unprecedented in Honduras– host a smaller medical mission just for the patients the team couldn’t get to this week.
“The most heartbreaking part of a mission is seeing the families who can’t get surgery go home. We try to get to every single patient we can, but that’s not enough,” said Clover-Ann Lee, a volunteer anesthesiologist from South Africa. “How can you hear these stories and tell someone to go back home?”
In just two short weeks, a medical team will work with the Honduran medical volunteers to provide surgeries for the 40 patients who were eligible for surgery this time, but were left off the surgical schedule due to time and resources. The surgeries will be performed at the Operation Smile Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Integral Care Clinic in Tegucigalpa.
“We are giving them a light, we aren’t sending them away and to come try again at the next mission in November,” said Ana Kafie, President of the Operation Smile Honduras board. “This is so amazing. I’ve been here forever and I don’t think we have ever done something like this. This is a dream come true.”
Tags: Our Blog, From the Field, Latin America & Caribbean, Honduras