LWB Community Blog

The 2010 Cleft Surgery Trip is Underway!

Social media experts always advise to “keep your blogs brief” and “make it shorter”, and we have tried to do that with our blogs over the last year, but today I honestly don’t want to be brief. : -) The 2010 LWB Cleft Surgery Exchange is officially underway, and I hope you will feel as I do that every child deserves a moment in the spotlight since many have traveled so far for their surgeries. These trips involve months of planning, so many incredible donors, and a wonderful commitment by the orphanage caregivers, doctors and nurses, and so I want to make sure we report as much as possible to thank everyone who made this trip a reality.   You can click on any of the photos in this blog to see a larger resolution picture.

Today (Sunday), our team had a very busy day with their Chinese colleagues at the First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian University examining the children before the surgeries begin tomorrow. The nannies did their very best to keep each child happy while they waited for their turn to be seen by the doctors. Our team also gave several lectures today at the hospital. Dr. Ness spoke on bilateral cleft lip surgery, and Maureen Brogan gave a lecture on post op care. She told me today that the team is already having a wonderful time making new friends with the hospital staff. That is one of the wonderful extras that comes from these trips.
After the lectures, it was time to make sure the doctors had everything in place for the surgeries tomorrow. Suture and scalpels were organized, and Dr. Ness and Dr. Martin familiarized themselves with the OR. Meanwhile, our wonderful staff in China were kept busy with logistics and translating, and our medical director Richard Zhang was interviewed by several television crews about this joint US-China medical project.
Now on to the kids!

Some of you might recognize Fenn, from our Anhui cleft home. He was charming everyone today with his little grins. He loved the beanie babies that people donated and immediately made friends with our team. Dr. Ness feels his palate repair should go very well.
It was quickly discovered that Little Payton is one stubborn girl. When Dr. Ness tried to look at her palate, she tightened every single muscle in her jaw and quite simply refused to cooperate. It was only when he was leaving the room that she went up to him and opened her mouth so he could look!
We are so sad to report that Garret will not be having surgery on this trip. His prelabial tissue is gone and his maxilla is too far forward at the moment, so there is nothing to make an upper lip for him. He will need to have a special plastic device to apply pressure on the tissue upwards toward the nose before being able to have surgery. The doctors had a long discussion about his case. We are going to make sure his adoption paperwork is filed as quickly as possible, so hopefully he could be in a permanent home when he is ready for the repair.  Giving a caregiver the news that the child she has brought cannot receive surgery is always so difficult.  Everyone comes to these trips full of hope and excitement that their child will receive a better life through surgery, and when you have to break the news that the child doesn’t qualify….it is always very sad.

Blaise is also an unknown for surgery at this time. He has a very high white blood count and is very frail at the moment. His caregivers said he is very difficult to feed. We are going to continue one on one care over the next few days and make a decision later this week on whether he can have his operation.
We hope you’ll enjoy the following photos of some of the kids who have already arrived for surgery. Thank you all for thinking of the children and the medical team this week. We know so many lives will be changed!

Chloe – palate repair

Jesse – lip repair

Daisy – lip repair

Wade – lip repair

Whitney – lip repair

Harris – lip repair

Louise – lip repair

Dr. Martin examining little Jan – who doesn’t seem too pleased.

Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers for everyone involved with this important medical exchange. Children are still arriving, and we’ll have more news soon!

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  • bagalitl says:

    Just wanted to let you know how awesome what you are doing is! Our adopted daughter (Dang Xin Ju) was one of the little girls you did a cleft lip/palate repair this time last year. She is thriving and her repair looks amazing. Please extend our heart felt thanks to the entire team.

  • Dawn Hofberg says:

    Thanks for posting this blog and the photos of the darling babies who will receive your loving care.

  • Dwis says:

    All is not bad in this world. Thanks for all of your good work.
    Debbie Wisniewski

  • annjam says:

    Just went through your blog and pics. I had goosebumps and tears… I will be thinking of all of you and these precious babies this week.
    Much love to all.
    Ann Jamgochian FNP
    Mendocino Coast Clinics

  • rlindstrom says:

    Thanks for sharing your work with us. It is awesome!
    We are thinking of you and sending our wishes for the best for those dear little ones. Peace and wellness to all of you.
    Rachael & David Lindstrom