Sunday, November 20, 2011

dear medical schools, accept me please

forwarning: the images of surgery in this blog post are not that graphic so i think you'll be ok. but you are warned nonetheless..

the other day, i had such a wonderful/unique/extraordinary opportunity to work with a group of american plastic surgeons who came to senegal as part of the Global Smile Foundation and Smile Train. they fixed 30 cleft lips in just 4 short days, all pro bono. it was such a pleasure to be able to take part in their work and really in the end, i have to thank them for this unforgettable experience. 

cleft lips are a problem especially for babies because the gap making breast feeding very difficult. it's even more difficult if the child has a cleft palate as well. but even for cosmetic reasons, children with cleft lips get ostracized and made fun and stared at and get rocks thrown at them. this culture particularly does not like different things, weird things, non-"normal" things. so fixing cleft lips and palates is quite life changing.

we were invited because the doctors needed translators. the patients dont speak english. the doctors dont speak wolof or french or pulaar. so we were their intermediary. it was awesome. 

the female surgeon on the right is 1 of 4 plastic surgeons in all of west africa. and we're talking muslim backwards-for-women countries. a female plastic surgeon... if only i could bring her to my village to have a talk with all the young girls. marriage isnt the end all be all. you can get out of this village. there is a better life in senegal.

this is abdu. he is one of the greatest most optimistic, cheerful, wonderful kids i know. he has what is known as a bilateral cleft lip. that means two slits instead of one.

i dont have a better shot but this is abdu post surgery. you can see that his lip looks much much MUCH more normal now. watching the surgeries were miraculous.

one of the best parts was that we got to scrub in and actually watch the surgery! not only that but i got to help prep the operating rooms as well as help with simple, menial tasks like cutting sutures. but how cool is that?! i actually got to assist during the surgery! life couldnt be any better

some more surgery pictures...

she looks so good...

the group photo at the end with all 30 patients...

and the doctors that changed lives...

so dear medical schools, this is what i really want to do. i dont know how else to put it except that im ready. really...

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