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Surgery Mission – Day Four

Six more children received their surgeries today. While the surgeries were going on in Shanghai, a small group of our volunteers took the train to Hangzhou to tour the orphanage and the site of our new Hangzhou Surgical Healing Unit (HSHU). Wendy Petersen, the Medical Trips Coordinator, was in Shanghai while Karen went on the trip to Hangzhou.

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Today was another successful day of surgeries in Shanghai. The morning started off with our team making rounds with the Chinese nurses and doctors. The nurses are all so professional and efficient. They are so graceful when they work, and somehow manage to look as fresh at the end of the shift as they do at the beginning. SCMC has chosen their top nurses to work this mission and their care is so loving and kind. The Charge Nurse on the day shift is a sweet young lady who we have taken to calling “Spring”. Spring is one of the most beautiful Chinese women I have ever met. She is usually all business but today she took a few minutes just to hold a baby. I was told she was walking around the hall holding Heng saying “my baby! my baby!”. It seems everyone has a baby or two that they have claimed as their own.

Yuan Yuan is the sweet little 5 year old girl who had a very large tumor removed from her head yesterday. Today she slept most of the day and her very dedicated ayi stayed right next to her the whole day. Several other ayis offered to take care of her so she could have a break but she would not budge. What is so remarkable is that she has only been Yuan’s ayi for a very short time. I am so glad Yuan was able to rest so much today but I hope some of her spunk will return tomorrow.
Several ayis and foster moms cried when their babies were brought back from the OR. When Yu came up her foster mom was very anxiously waiting for her at the doorway and began to cry. I love the expression on Yu’s face in this photo. You can almost hear her saying ” I don’t feel good mommy”. She lay in her foster mom’s arms with a look of both pain and total comfort on her face.

Long’s foster mom was also in tears when he returned to the floor from surgery. We asked why she was crying and she said she was worried that he was in pain. We were able to reassure her with the help of the wonderful Chinese nurses that he was sleepy and relaxed. We comforted the foster mom while she leaned over and comforted Long.

Everyday I am just amazed at the Shanghai volunteers. They have just absolutely gone above and beyond to bring food, hold babies and tend to our every need. They have taken us out to eat, taken us shopping, and at every turn asking what else they can do for us. We have had many opportunities to share our passion about orphans with them.

Surgeries went so smoothly that our team finished up early and most everyone got a chance to go out and enjoy Shanghai a bit. All of the babies are in great hands and we look forward to getting back to see them again in the morning. Good night from Shanghai.

Wendy Petersen

Medical Trips Coordinator

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The day to Hangzhou began on a high speed train between Shanghai and Hangzhou. During our train ride, a woman in the car in front of us started screaming. Just five rows in front of us, her husband was having a heart attack. Our group of people jumped to action. They immediately started chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. One of our volunteers, Elfie, helped to take his pulse, while one of our facilitators John helped to call for a doctor on the train in English as the train staff called in Chinese, and Brad, our HSHU Director, helped with the mouth-to-mouth. The train’s staff then called ahead to the next station where they had an ambulance waiting. When we came to the station, both Brad and John helped to carry the man off the train. We aren’t sure what the outcome for this gentleman was, but our team was happy to be a part of the heroic efforts made to help him.

Once we arrived, the Hangzhou director picked us up and took us back to her current orphanage. While we were there, we went to their medical isolation area. In this area, we saw three beautiful little babies who need our help. One of the babies, Ming, has a liver duct blockage and was very yellow. This baby will need an exam as we try to find the very best hospital to send him. There was also a beautiful newborn baby girl, Hui, who was two weeks old with a huge spinal tumor that the director said was urgent. This tumor is leaking and we will try to get this child transferred to SCMC for surgery immediately. This baby girl will soon be on our website as urgent. The last child was a toddler, Ping, who has anal atresia and will need his colostomy closure surgery. Another adorable child!

While we were here, we saw an absolutely gorgeous three year old with OI or brittle bone disease. Her paperwork has been submitted for adoption, but the orphanage has not heard if she has been chosen. She was just too cute with absolutely HUGE dimples. The orphanage also brought Li Li, a six year old little girl with a brain tumor. Her surgery has been sponsored and we are waiting for a bed for her to be moved to Dr. Bao at SCMC. We have heard that she will be moved sometime very soon.

After we saw some of the children in the current orphanage, we went to the location of their new orphanage. We drove around the orphanage compound and saw all of the beautiful buildings. This orphanage will include a gymnasium and an orphanage school. The director said that the whole orphanage will be able to hold 500 children. These new buildings will be opened in January and you can already see how they are putting on the final touches.


We stopped at the building that will hold our healing center. Our rooms are located on the second floor and are so large and bright. We will have a playroom, two children’s rooms, a kitchen, an ayi room, an office, and a room for our director to live. Even though we will be starting with 9 beds, there is quite a bit of room to expand when we have the funding. How wonderful it was to know that very soon, some of the most vulnerable babies of all will be able to use this unit. Because we want to make sure that every child receives the very best pre and post op surgery care, this unit will help us to make sure that every child with heart, neurosurgery, or colon issues has a place to go while they are recovering.

Soon it was time to have a quick lunch. We were so happy to have Dr. Li, one of the cardiac surgeons we love the most from Zhejiang Children’s Hospital, join us. He was able to share that he performed a heart surgery on one of our babies just that morning. Heng from Anhui, a child with a complex heart condition, received the first stage of her surgery. She is now doing wonderfully!

All too soon it was time to go back to Shanghai. This time, the ride was much less eventful, but did go fast as we discussed the plans for the HSHU. Once we arrived back to Shanghai, I couldn’t wait to go to the hospital to check on today’s surgery cases. All of the children looked great and it was wonderful to hear how quickly today’s surgeries went. The team was finished in record time and again the children looked amazing! I can’t wait until tomorrow so I can go back to the hospital to see even more children have their lives changed in such dramatic ways.

Karen Maunu
Medical Director

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