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Final Day of the 2017 Cambodia Medical Exchange

It’s our final morning to say “Hello from Phnom Penh and Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.” We’re happy that all our patients continue to recover well, and that meant a few more discharges were in order. Kenzie’s grandma reported that her granddaughter slept well through the night and completely regained her appetite, so it was time for our team to say goodbye to this beautiful little girl. We’re all wishing her a future filled with love, health, and laughter.

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Third Surgery Day of the 2017 Cambodia Medical Exchange

Hello again from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where our medical exchange team had another productive day.  First up was morning rounds — a great time to check on all the kids. For those of you who may be new to cleft operations, we’ll just say that recovery from palate surgery is often quite painful. Simply put – it hurts. During this week in Cambodia, we’ve been amazed at how quickly most of our patients have bounced right back after surgery.

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Second Surgery Day of the 2017 Cambodia Medical Exchange

It’s Day Two of surgeries here in Phnom Penh, and we’re happy to report that all of our little patients are doing well. Avery is understandably still very sore from her lip repair yesterday, but she looked great during morning rounds. One of the adorable little boys having surgery today is Silas, who will be turning four in just a few weeks. His parents are rice farmers, and he’s the baby of his family. Silas’ mom saw an advertisement that our team would be in Cambodia this week and knew right away that she needed to bring him to see the doctors.

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First Surgery Day of the 2017 Cambodia Medical Exchange

Greetings from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where it’s a balmy 90 degrees and 94% humidity!  The warm temps didn’t get in the way of some really successful surgeries today though. Little Avery hitched a ride on our team’s bus this morning, as she was one of the first children on the schedule. She had no idea that today her life was going to change in an enormous way.

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Intake Day

Today was Intake Day for our 2017 Cleft Medical Exchange. When our team arrived early in the morning, many families were already lined up hoping to be seen. Unlike our past medical exchange trips to China where we pre-identified the children having surgery, this year ads were sent to villages, schools, and orphanages by Smile Cambodia. Today was the “open call” for anyone to come and be seen by our international team.

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Let the Healing Begin!

All the members of our medical team have arrived safely in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is the country’s largest and most densely populated city, with over 1.5 million people calling it home. Children will be coming here from all over Cambodia to have surgery this week. Our team photographer, Sherri Cox, snapped some pictures around town to give everyone a feel for where all the excitement will be happening.

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2017 Cleft Medical Exchange: Meet Avery

In many countries around the world, superstitions abound surrounding children born with medical needs. In Africa for example, it’s frequently thought that children born with birth defects are a result of witchcraft. In China, thousands of babies are abandoned each year by families who believe it’s the only way to remove the “curse” that someone has placed on them. In Cambodia, a country where many believe strongly in reincarnation, people often believe children are born with birth defects as punishment for something the baby did in his or her previous life. The sad reality is that as long as people don’t have access to accurate medical knowledge about special needs, superstition and fear will prevail.

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Smile Cambodia

For the last thirteen years, LWB has sent medical teams to China to provide life-changing surgeries to both orphaned and rural children. In 2016, when we began our work in other countries, we immediately set a goal to expand our international outreach with this essential program as well. Many emails were sent to hospitals and organizations throughout southeast Asia introducing LWB and our Cleft Medical Exchange program. In February, we found the perfect opportunity for LWB’s first surgical trip outside of China.  Our team is very excited to partner with a wonderful organization called Smile Cambodia.

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Meet Our 2017 Cleft Exchange Team

We are excited to introduce our 2017 Cleft Medical Exchange Team! This dedicated group is headed to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in a few weeks for our very first Cleft Exchange in southeast Asia. The Exchange will run from October 16 through October 23. Doctors who donate their time and talents are the heart of any Cleft Medical Exchange. Three doctors going to Cambodia — Dr. Kathy Clinch, Dr. Neil Derechin, and Dr. Chris Tolan, have participated in five LWB surgical trips!

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Journey to Cambodia 2017: Sokhem Village

The second day of our time in Cambodia was spent along the border region, and it certainly was an exciting journey to get there.  This is the second year in a row I’ve traveled during monsoon season, and the moment you turn off the paved roads to get to the rural villages, your tuk tuk rides becomes more exciting than any amusement park attraction. Then you finally just give up once the motorcart gets completely stuck, and you take off your shoes to walk the rest of the way.  Mud, glorious mud!

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