A World Missions Possible team of volunteer medical professionals was in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from January 8-14, 2005, where they provided free reconstructive surgery to children with facial deformities and burn scar contractures. The team consisted of 16 volunteer medical professionals and five non-medical volunteers. All non-medical volunteers funded their own trip expenses. Led by Tom Flood, R.N., the Medical team consisted of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and a bio-medical technician.
The team was able to provide surgery for 114 patients. They did 38 cleft lip procedures, 39 cleft palate procedures and 37 burn scar revisions. All the patients did well with no untold outcomes. WMP also donated $8,880 worth of ear prosthesis to the Hospital to be donated to indigent patients over the course of the year. Medical Bridges donated a defibrillator, Bovie unit and a pulse oximeter machine. The approximate value of these pieces of equipment is $10,000.
The total cost of the 2005 mission minus the donations in-kind was $31,886. This amounts to $279.00 per child. Future Plans: Our host would like for us to commit to a five-year plan to expand the surgical mission. They would like for us to have more emphasis on education and would like for us to assist with the development of dental clinics in the rural areas in south Vietnam. We are will be evaluating this proposal and will have a report by May 1st. At this time, the team plans on returning in February 2006 to continue our cleft lip and burn mission.
The team used over five operating tables in three rooms to perform the life-changing surgeries. Medical Bridges donated some of the surgical supplies, such as suture, surgical gloves, dressing supplies, medical tape, etc., used in the surgeries. The team also left the Vietnamese clinic a much-needed pulse oximeter, an electrosurgical unit, and a surgical headlight.
In 2003, for instance, the 17-member team kept the total cost of the mission to $26,715 – with the per-patient cost hitting a mere $205 for a chance at life-altering surgery! The funds for the trip come from private donors, like yourself, and volunteer donations.
The World Missions Possible team was invited back in 2004, when the team traveled out to the needy in hard-to-reach rural provinces to assess and screen patients.
So why do they keep returning year after year? For the kids, said Flood. “In 2002, we did identical twin boys, two-year-olds with cleft lips. The surgery was successful for both of them,” said Flood, “It’s wonderful to see them recovered and to smile now.”