Dear Friends & Family,
I wanted to report back to you on the success of our Free To Smile plastic surgery mission to Uspantan, Guatemala. Our goal was to provide free surgery for poor children with cleft lip and cleft palate. We operated on forty children. Our team was comprised of plastic surgeons, oral-maxillofacial surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, translators, and administrators. We worked closely with three NGO’s in Guatemala: Partner For Surgery, Peace Corps, and TESS Unlimited. These three groups were instrumental in helping us to accomplish this mission by bringing patients to Uspantan and helping to care for them after surgery. Most of the children ranged in age from three months to four years. Each child spent at least one night in the hospital after surgery and a few stayed for several nights. After surgery, the children and their families stayed in a local shelter for the week. We worked closely with the hospital staff to perform the surgery as safely as possible and strove to match the quality of care with which we are accustomed to providing to our patients back home.
Thank you to so many of you who provided support to our team through donations of supplies, equipment, support of our fundraiser raffle, contributions, and prayers. Those of us on this mission realize how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to go abroad and have an impact on the lives of children in such need – and we recognize that we could not have done it without the help of so many people back home.
Dr. George Chatson