The Plasticos Foundation team recently returned from a medical mission trip to Guatemala where they worked round the clock performing surgery on children with deformities and traumatic injuries.
Director, Susan Williamson provides a a re-cap of the trip through her eyes:
"I dare say, this was the best mission I have personally been on. Our host surgeon, Dr. Ernesto Cofino was incredibly organized and made great use of our doctors' time. Originally we intended to work at an impoverished hospital in Amatitlan. The hospital was in such a financial crisis that we were redirected to the IGSS (social security) hospital. The IGSS hospital has vastly more resources but by US standards, is still very, very poor. In addition to the danger factor (guards holding machine guns surround the hospital), the patients had transportation challenges and some were truly penniless and did not have money for food.
Attached are photos and a video of the sweet cherubs whose lives were completely transformed by the brilliant work of plastic surgeons Dr. Jed Horowitz and Dr. Larry Nichter. Ernesto gave us complicated cases, which he struggled with. Some of the surgeries took most of the day. We had several microtia patients (undeveloped ear) and a boy without a nose. The children were brave and grateful, which of course made our mission more meaningful and emotional.
Superstars – Beverly suffered from microtia and was the happiest child I’ve ever encountered. She has sent me many videos since my return home because she is quite excited about her new ear. Laylany has the same condition and told us she is “so happy that God finally chose her for surgery”.
Cintaya and her mom traveled 10 hours by bus so she could receive life-changing surgery to close her cleft palate. They belong to the Maya population and she expressed gratitude in her native language Q'eqchi'. 'Bantiox re li gawa dios lin culaal yo chi usae ve lix chobal. Li gawa chi asolotesina awe anajwan ut junelik. Sahil cholejil choa ere yalag bar texik.' Which translates to: 'Thank God my baby is recovering from the operation. Blessings to the doctors wherever they go.'"