Saturday morning, the doctors made their final rounds on the patients they have come to love. This is always a very bittersweet time for a medical team, as they realize that such a wonderful experience is coming to a close.
It was time to say goodbye to all the great kids from Gansu. We are so thankful that the majority of them are in our new school program at their orphanage, so we can follow their healing closely. Read more.
Our team’s last operating day was a very good one. Baby Alana was the first patient for Dr. Ness, and she came through surgery beautifully. Her repair looks fantastic, and we are so happy she was able to have surgery despite her tiny size. Alana is from a very rural orphanage in southwest Guizhou. We hope that by having this surgery done, she will now be able to feed better and gain much needed weight. Read more.
Today was both an operating day and an education seminar day in China, so everyone on the team had very long hours. As we have mentioned in past blogs, LWB no longer does “missions,” but instead “exchanges,” as we want long-term impact to come from our trips. Today, surgeons from throughout Henan province came to Kaifeng for several training seminars, led by our team and the wonderful doctors at Kaifeng Children’s Hospital. Lots of useful information on cleft surgery and pediatric anesthesia was shared. Read more.
When our team arrived to the hospital on Wednesday morning, it was time to say goodbye to several of our young patients.
Ted, Robert Owen, and Paul were the first to be discharged. Our team is going to miss them so much! Their repairs look beautiful, and Dr. Ness’s mom had made little hats which we put on them before they left for the train station. Our warmest thoughts go with them as they travel back. Read more.
Tuesday was another great day in Kaifeng. Eight children received their surgeries, with one last minute substitution. When it comes to cleft surgery, there are three important “tens.” We want the kids to be 10 weeks old, weigh at least 10 pounds, and have a hemoglobin (iron level) of 10 as well. All of the kids must have pre-op bloodwork done, and yesterday Tyrone’s came in low. The doctors wanted to repeat it again today to make sure it was accurate, and unfortunately they discovered he is quite anemic. He was already in his gown when the new numbers came in, and while we were disappointed he wouldn’t have surgery, he looks tickled pink, doesn’t he, that he got a last minute reprieve? We are going to be running some more tests on him to see what could be going on, as his iron levels actually dropped even further from one day to the next. Read more.
After a short formal ceremony this morning to officially open the 2014 international cleft exchange, the surgeries began.
Ted and Joy were the first two babies taken back to the OR. Ted went with Dr. Ness, and Joy went with Dr. Tolan. Read more.
Easter Sunday saw 20 children from around China arrive to Kaifeng in preparation for their cleft surgeries this week. The rest of our medical team also arrived from overseas, and the doctors quickly got to work making sure every detail was in place regarding the OR. Read more.
This week, all of the team members for LWB’s next international cleft surgery exchange are leaving for China. The babies and older children will start their journeys to Kaifeng this Friday as well, most arriving by train but a few coming by plane since they are from provinces far away from Henan. For a lot of them, it will be the first time they have left their orphanage, and our team will be waiting to give them the warmest welcome possible. Read more.
Surgeons are not the only ones who participate in our life-changing cleft exchanges! Of course, the operations would not happen without the dedicated and talented surgeons giving of their time. However, other volunteers also play a key role, and today we want to introduce you to a few who will be going on the cleft exchange next month.
You may have heard the buzz about the 2014 Cleft Exchange, which will take place April 21-25, 2014 in Kaifeng, Henan. If you are new LWB supporter, you may wonder what the excitement is all about. And we are more than happy to share so you, too, can join in the excitement! Read more.