Humanitarian Trip to Peru
Drs. Jeff Markey and Myriam Loyo Li from the Facial Plastic &Reconstructive Surgery Division at OHSU traveled to Lambayaque, Peru in January to perform cleft lip and palate repairs. The trip was organized and funded by the FACES Foundation – an organization founded in Portland, OR to treat children born with congenital deformities and no other means for seeking repair. FACES has been traveling to Peru for more than 8 years. They return each year to ensure that the Peruvian children they treat receive vital multidisciplinary care along with appropriate long-term postoperative care. Drs. Markey and Loyo Li were proud to be able to join the well-organized and well-meaning effort.
The lengthy trip southward to Lima, Chiclayo, and finally Lambayeque brought the group to Belen Hospital on January 21st. The work greeted them quickly after arrival. More than one hundred patients were screened during a prior preoperative trip and on the day of arrival. These preoperative visits translated into more than eighty procedures performed on nearly fifty patients over the ensuing six days. The days were full. The operating rooms at Belen opened early in the morning each day and the team of professionals operated efficiently and carefully late into the night. The anesthesia staff managed to sedate patients of all ages and sizes without complication. The recovery nursing staff provided diligent monitoring and pain control for hours after each procedure. The photographers were able to document each patient before and after surgery for the record while the speech pathologists provided vital ancillary treatment. Finally the surgeons, all specifically trained in cleft lip and palate reconstruction, performed a host of procedures treating a wide variety of patient concerns. Beyond primary cleft repair, pharyngoplasties were performed to treat velopharyngeal insufficiency, ear tubes for otitis media, local palatal flaps were closed with oronasal fistulas, and rib grafts for cleft nasal deformities along with multiple revision surgeries and other pathologies. The entire team worked together to accomplish as much as possible in a week that passed quickly.
The week long mission concluded with a celebration hosted by local groups in Lambayeque. The Lions Club and Café Feminino, both based in Chiclayo and Lambayeque, know the FACES Foundation well and provided invaluable support all week. The celebration was truly a special sendoff, with Americans and Peruvians together drinking pisco sours and recalling favorite patients and procedures encountered during the week. The international effort was the result of both countries working towards a common goal –helping kids, one by one. To learn more about the FACES Foundation, visit https://facesfoundation.org/.