Developing Faces took a surgical mission to Guatemala City in August of 2018. The mission was led by Dr. Paul Rosenberg, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon practicing in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Dr. Rosenberg organized a team of carefully selected healthcare professionals from respected hospitals in both the United States and Mexico. The surgical team consisted of highly trained pediatric intensive care nurses, a pediatric anesthesiologist, a board certified plastic surgeon and a board certified microsurgeon.
The Developing Faces surgical team traveled together to Guatemala for one week, starting the week with a patient intake day. During the intake day, great care was taken to select babies and children with the most severe cases that were also great candidates for surgery. The remainder of the trip was then spent operating on these patients and ensuring that they had an uneventful recovery. Each team member worked extraordinary hours, pushing themselves with the goal of completing as many surgeries as safely possible while maintaining the highest standards of patient care. Together, the Developing Faces team performed fifty complex surgeries on twenty nine babies and children with severe facial abnormalities including two microsurgical free flaps, cleft lip and palate repairs, and ear reconstruction.
As the Developing Faces team performed the surgeries throughout the week, they also provided medical training for Guatemalan surgeons, doctors and nurses. This ensured that the patients continued to receive high quality post operative care after our team returned to the United States. This type of surgical training helps to improve the quality of care local doctors and nurses provide to their own community for the remainder of their medical careers. In addition, it improves the training these doctors and nurses can then provide to other individuals joining the medical field in Guatemala. As a result, the impact Developing Faces has on the quality of life in Guatemala will long outlast the length of any one surgical mission and will improve many more lives than the twenty nine patients the team personally operated on during the 2018 mission.
The surgeries that were performed during the 2018 Developing Faces mission will drastically improve the quality of life for each of the babies and children that received surgical care. Each child not only has a better physical appearance, but also an improved chance of a successful and fulfilling life. For the remainder of their life, they will have better career potential, increased self confidence, improved speech and other emotional and mental benefits that come with repairing a severe facial abnormality at a young age. None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the kindness of generous people like you.