It was exciting news when Dr. Nichter and Dr. Horowitz were informed they received approval to bring their Plasticos Foundation medical team back to Cuba for the first time since 2006. After successful medical mission trips in 2004 and 2006, the group planned on a third trip in 2007, however this time the U.S. government turned down their request to return. Now that the Obama administration is attempting to improve relations with Cuba, they were given approval to return to Cienfuegos and provide much needed medical care to children in need of surgery and other care.
The Plasticos Foundation is a Newport Beach non-profit organization headed by Dr. Nichter. The group of medical professionals travels around the world performing reconstructive plastic surgery on patients who can least afford medical treatment. In most cases, their patients are children born with a genetic defect or injured resulting in disfigurement. These patients are ostracized because of their appearance, and without surgery have little chance of having much quality of life.
The team left a week ago and spent their time at the Hospital Pediatrico Universitario, performing approximately 50 surgeries on children. Dr. Nichter said some of the some of the procedures were quite complicated. Aside from offering pro bono surgery, the foundation gifted the hospital an autoclave to sterilize instruments, new lights for the operating theater, a new IV bag warmer, an otoscope, and printer ink.
Another benefit of the team’s work is sharing their medical knowledge with local medical professionals. Dr. Nichter said Cuban doctors are especially interested in breast reconstruction, burn injury treatment, and flap surgery techniques.
The Orange County Register published an article about the Plasticos Foundation’s trip to Cuba prior to their departure. Read full article here: http://bit.ly/plasticoscuba