Wester Rodriguez arrived from the Dominican Republic, showing little outward sign of a heart condition. As the 3-year-old bounded into his host parents’ home - and hearts - they hoped that, just maybe, his condition was not that serious. It was. In fact, Wester’s medical team would soon discover an extraordinarily rare and challenging problem.
Stories from the Field
The transformation of Diraj Lackan began one day in his village in Guyana, a place of palm trees, colorful houses and tropical heat. A dental hygiene student working at a church clinic on a mission trip heard about a baby born with a severe cleft palate. Nearly a year later, on a winter morning in snow-covered West Michigan, a surgeon at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital repaired the gap in the roof of Diraj’s mouth.
This Peruvian girl was born with a bilateral transverse cleft lip. This happens in less than 1 in 80,000 births. The deep horizontal groove across her face left her with a constant frown and inability to move her mouth at all. Liquid would leak out of the corners of her mouth when she tried to drink. Her parents had travelled all over Peru to many hospitals and surgeons and could not find anyone who had expertise in treating this condition. A Healing the Children surgical team was the answer to their prayers.
A free clinic at the city dump helps to meet the desperate needs of children and families living in neighborhoods adjacent to the Guatemala City landfill - many of whom survive by scavenging at the dump for things that can be sold.
An episode of The Doctors TV program on ABC features the efforts of a Healing the Children surgical team in Nepal, including Southern California Chapter director Dr. Jennifer D'Amico, Dr. Alireza Khosroabadi, and Dr. Carl Kihm.
During a 2014 ENT screening trip to Nicaragua doctors identified four young women with moderate to severe hearing lost. Through our partners in the United States and Nicaragua, they can now hear clearly the sounds of this world for the first time.
Healing the Children Philadelphia is helping its partners in Ethiopia to to develop urgently needed pediatric ENT and audiology resources in the country. This project is now six years in with twice yearly trips to Ethiopia by Dr. Isaacson and his team from Temple University. They provide lectures and clinical classes for medical residents from Addis Ababa University. In addition, they assist in the procurement of needed supplies, instruments and diagnostic equipment to help train newly educated Ethiopian doctors who are then stationed throughout their country where needed.
Healing the Children Wisconsin made it possible for a former patient, David from Nicaragua, to make a positive difference in his community. David received treatment through HTC for bilateral clubfoot in 2000. David recently led an effort to secure funding and complete construction on a schoolhouse for his impoverished rural hometown in Nicaragua.