Cleft Mission Batangas, Phillipines|Feb, 2013

Adelle Franchek interned with MMFC during her last semester at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA during the fall 2012. She assisted in coordinating logistics for our medical and dental missions. Her internship with MMFC culminated in her participation in the February 2013 surgical mission to Batangas, Philippines led by Dr. David Kaufman. Here are Adelle’s observations and stories.

Sunday, February 10, 2013: Screening Day

Screening Day at Taal Polymedic Hospital and Medical Center began in the afternoon after the MMFC staff arrived in Taal, Batangas.  Dr. Eric Tenorio welcomed us into his medical center along with the rest of the Taal Polymedic staff.  The screening room was filled with about 40 patients and their family members.

The screening process for the patients and their families involved meeting with the doctors and nurses who examined the patients.  The parents were given documentation about cleft lip and palate and during the consultations the parents received information about pre- and post-operative details.

The patients ranged in ages from infancy to young adulthood.

Monday, February 11, 2013: Surgical Day #1

The first surgical day began with patient Tristan, age four with a weight of 11kg.  His parents, Ruby and Edwardo shared Tristan’s story while he was undergoing his procedure.  The family lives in the village of San Piro, Balayan, which is located in the province of Batangas.  Edwardo works as a construction laborer.  In order to get to Taal Polymedic for Tristan’s surgery the family had to travel by tricycle to a bus station and then take a two hour bus ride into Taal.  Thanks to the wonderful nursing team at Taal Polymedic and the MMFC staff Tristen had his cleft lip corrected.  His parents are truly grateful to the doctors and nurses and look forward to seeing Tristen’s lip correction.

This is Loudes Miggy (M).  He is two years of age and had a cleft palate before undergoing a reconstructive procedure at Taal Polymedic.  In order to reach Taal Polymedic, Lourdes and his parents, Jincki and Kenneth, had to travel by tricycle and Jeepne from their home of Balebe, Batangas.  Kenneth works as a barber in Balebe and both he and Jincki are very grateful to the Taal Polymedic and MMFC team for providing their son with the reconstructive surgery that will improve Lourdes’ quality of life.  This surgery was a great success and the MMFC team did a wonderful job providing expert care to this little boy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2013: Surgical Day #2

Vince Archie came to Taal Polymedic last year during the MMFC medical mission in order to get his cleft lip repaired.  Vince Archie also had a cleft palate which was not able to be corrected at that time.  We are very pleased to see Vince Archie again this year, when he returned to have a procedure to correct his cleft palate.  MMFC loves to see patients return in order to get all of the life-changing procedures that they need.  Vince Archie’s mother told us that Vince Archie has been doing quite well since last year and is thankful to those at MMFC who allow for Vince Archie to return and receive this second procedure.  The MMFC team was happy to see Vince Archie return and now both cleft deformities have been successfully corrected.

This is Jaypee.  He has undergone both a cleft palate and lip surgery during this MMFC mission.  Jaypee and his family are very grateful to have this surgery because before this time he couldn’t go to school because he was teased by his classmates due to his condition.  Prior to this surgery Jaypee would help his father, Lazaro, work the sugar cane fields as well as helping his mother, Josephine, tend to his younger siblings.  Jaypee and his family travelled eight kilometers to come to Taal Polymedic for the corrective surgery for his cleft lip and palate.  Now that his lip and palate have been corrected Jaypee will consider going back to school and continue his education.  This surgery was life changing for both Jaypee and his entire family because it will provide Jaypee with new opportunities.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today marks the end of a truly wonderful and successful mission.  It was a very busy day, with 5 surgeries, two lip and three palate, as well as four obturator cases to follow.  In total the team completed 24 surgeries.  All of outcomes were great and will surely lead to beautiful smiles for all the children who underwent a procedure.

Today was a uniquely special day because it also marked the final surgery and mission for longtime volunteer (and board member), Dr. John Pook.  Although this was a bittersweet time the team worked well and everyone enjoyed working alongside Dr. Pook.  After his last and final case the MMFC and Taal Polymedic team surprised Dr. Pook with a cake.  Immediately following the presentation of a cake to Dr. Pook, the entire MMFC team was surprised by all of the patients and their families who warmly thanked them for their time and services this past week.  It was a very joyous time and many pictures were taken.  It was the perfect culmination to a wonderful mission which will hopefully occur each and every year for many years to come.  The MMFC team thanks Taal Polymedic and the doctors and hosts who helped to coordinate this very successful mission.