Lima, Peru Nov. 2017
Healing the Children Rocky Mountains returned to the government hospital 2 de Mayo in Lima, Peru for the 6th time. The reach of our team continues to grow each year.
This year during our one week mission, we were able to perform 130 surgical procedures on 99 patients. 97 of the patients have cleft lip or palate. Many are babies, and it is truly miraculous how a 90 minute surgery can offer a child a hope at a normal life as these children are often bullied and not allowed to attend school in Peru. We also provided over 50 speech therapy sessions.
Our program to provide glasses and hearing aids also continues to grow. The local school districts in Lima started screening children for hearing loss and vision loss during the year. They then bussed the children in to the hospital. Our team of optometrists and audiologists would then do a detailed exam and fit them. We had hundreds of custom glasses frames donated and the children could pick out a pair they wanted and they would be able to go home seeing better than they ever have. Dr.Brown was able to sit in on a fitting for hearing aids for a child with severe hearing loss and it was very emotional when his dad spoke to him and he turned around and said, "Papa, papa" because he could actually hear his dad. Our team ended up fitting 80 children for glasses and 42 for hearing aids.
Even though Hospital 2 de Mayo is the oldest medical school in South America, they have never had a hearing aid program because of lack of training and technology. Our team has been able to provide them the computer software and training and equipment, so now they can start to treat their own people with hearing aids!
One memorable boy that we operated on was Jeremias. He is 17 years old. He was born with a cleft palate, but has never had an opportunity to have it fixed and didn't know it was possible. He is intelligent and handsome. But given his complete cleft palate, he is unable to speak well. This has severely impaired him in school and socially. When Dr. Brown met Jeremias and told him we were happy to fix his cleft palate, he couldn't stop smiling and gave a little fist pump for excitement.
Above photo, Jeremias with Dr. Brown before his surgery. You can see his excitement to have life-changing surgery.