Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Stories from Hermosillo

As CSI surgical mission volunteers, we are so fortunate to meet many wonderful children and families. I wish we could share all our stories, but here are just a few.

Oscar -
Imagine the desperation of a mother who hitchhiked with her 1-year-old son from their home three hours away to Hermosillo hoping to receive surgery for a cleft lip. Oscar is one of five children whose family lives on a salary of $50/week. Due to a last-minute family emergency, he and his mother missed the CSI screening day. Frantic, but undeterred, she left home with Oscar in her arms. She had no money, and only some juice, water and a small bag. That night the two of them slept outdoors and started hitchhiking toward Hermosillo the next morning. They were picked up by a kindhearted taxi driver took them as far as the bus station.  From there another taxi driver brought them to the hospital. We were pleased to be able to put Oscar on our surgery schedule.
Oscar after successful cleft lip surgery. Grateful, exhausted mommy.
Iker -
When Iker arrived last year as a 5-month-old, he was severely malnourished due to feeding challenges as a result of his cleft palate. At that time he weighed about 3 pounds, small enough to fit in a shoebox. Too fragile for surgery at that time, his very survival was questioned by medical staff. At screening during the CSI trip last year he was admitted to a local hospital for care. The St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic provided the financial and emotional support as he recovered. He arrived back this year for his CSI screening literally transformed, well nourished and ready for his cleft palate surgery. His mother is so very grateful!
Iker at 5 months of age in 2016. Too fragile for surgery.
Iker, one year later. Ready for cleft palate surgery this week.
Hannah -
Three-year-old Hannah received the best gift ever! Her father promised her that after her cleft lip surgery he would buy her a brand new two-wheel bike. At the end of her bed when she awakened from anesthesia, she found a new pink and purple Peppa Pig bike.  Hannah was out in the hallway riding the bike - which was decked out with shiny tassels and training wheels - three hours later under the very careful supervision of her mother and hospital staff.
Hannah and her bike
We wrapped up the surgeries today with a total of 57 children helped in just three days. The team was able to add three children who were on the "maybe" list for surgery as well.  One of my favorite things I heard this week was from a St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic staff member. She quoted the guardian of a young boy that CSI provided surgery a few years ago. "I gave him a home, St. Andrew’s and Hospital CIMA gave him a life, and CSI gave him a smile."
Happy surgeon, Dan Sampson DDS, MD
The generous and hospitable Hospital CIMA volunteers treated our team to a farewell fiesta last night. We enjoyed fabulous Mexican food fit for royalty, in the most lovely historical home in downtown Hermosillo. The evening was filled with music, karaoke and dancing late into the evening. Early this morning the team completed their final rounds, discharging the last 16 of our darling patients. Needless to say, there were smiles all around. Goodbye Hermosillo, until we see you again.

Thanks to our amazing and talented CSI volunteer team, St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic and Hospital CIMA Hermosillo. Because of great partnerships CSI is able to change many lives, one child at a

Monday, October 17, 2016

First days in Hermosillo

Nineteen CSI surgical, medical and nursing volunteers made their way to Hermosillo, Mexico, this weekend from various locations around the U.S. A few flight delays made connections difficult, but the team was grateful that American Airlines was willing to hold a departure so the CSI volunteers (and their vital equipment) could make it to Hermosillo on time.
St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic in Nogales, Arizona and CIMA Hospital in Hermosillo are important partners for our Mexico surgical missions. The St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic is involved in critical advance preparation for the CSI team, making certain the children are ready for surgery and that consistent follow-up is maintained. Because of CSI's long-term partnership with Hermosillo, we have been able to follow some children over several years, making certain they have the ongoing care and subsequent surgical procedures that are sometimes required in these complex cases.

CIMA Hospital in Hermosillo welcomes the CSI and St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic team with wide open arms each fall. Their staff and volunteers are amazing. Not only are the children and families treated with the utmost care, we are as well. Our welcome included singing, balloons, hugs and even tears of joy.
The team is in the midst of its third day of work already. Our first day on the job was filled with screening 122 children accompanied by very hopeful parents. A team of four specialized ENT, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, pediatricians and pediatric nurses evaluated the children - while the anesthesia team and OR nurses readied the operating rooms for several days of packed surgical schedules ahead. Once all the children had been seen, the surgical schedule for the week could be finalized.
The first day of surgeries was long and productive. Twenty kids had life-changing procedures,  which require a team effort. Tasia, our medical records volunteer, has many responsibilities. She manages medical records, directs traffic, translates, dresses kids for surgery, comforts crying babies and supports anxious parents. (and this was all in her first four hours on the job starting at 6 a.m.)
Let me tell you about baby Manuel. At 15 days of age, his family left him a village hospital. Manuel had been born with a bilateral cleft lip. His parents may not have known that a relatively simple surgery could repair the problem. They may not have had the financial resources to pay for care. They may not have understood that there doesn’t need to be any shame in giving birth to a child with a defect. They may have been ostracized by their community. Manuel is now 6 months old and has been living in an orphanage. He is ready to have surgery to repair the birth defect. The CSI team is thrilled to provide the care he needs to thrive and grow. He is pictured with his caregiver, Carolina, who loves him as her own.
We have two more days of surgery to bring changes to the lives of children in need. More stories to follow.