ORH 2018 - Final Day
Final day of yet another successful mission Operation Restore Hope. While surgeons and nurses go straight to the ward to do another check up on previous days’ patients, the anesthetists have carried on in the O.R. and prepared the first 3 children for their surgical procedures. It is always fascinating how quickly a team of specialists, coming together from all over the world for just 8 days can develop a routine and professional cooperation. By lunchtime the last 10 children have been operated on, bringing the total number of patients to 65 so far.
Over the four and a half days, the team have worked 14-16 hours per day and have completed 78 surgical procedures. To ease the burden for our little patients and their families, as much surgery as can be completed in one session, is performed, providing always that it is safe and clinically appropriate. Sadly, this year, 7 patients had to be cancelled because they were medically unfit for surgery. Some of them will hopefully be in better shape next year and will return, together with those few cases still in need of follow up operations.
Every year at the end of a mission the packing up and taking inventory of remaining stock, is also the first step in the preparation for next year’s mission.. Nurses take stock of everything from anesthesia, medication, syringes and needles, to scissors and bandages. The technical equipment is wrapped and carefully packed away and the facilities are returned to Ospital Ng Parañaque in their original state.
During this week, specialists from the New Zealand, the UK, UAE, and Germany have developed an amazingly strong bond with the local medical team. The ongoing exchange of experience and working alongside new colleagues is regarded as personal professional development and this forms an integral part of every mission.
As a matter of course, local theater nurses are trained and supervised during this week by their ORH colleagues. The fact that these hospital staff willingly work the same arduous long hours, for no pay, as their ORH counterparts is an indication of how much they value the time they spend with the mission.
Assisting these young people to become independent profesdsionals is one of the core values of ORH. Operation Restore Hope is, for everyone involved, an affair of the heart. Nurses, Surgeons, Assistants, Volunteers, members of the ASK foundation, Ospital Ng Parañaque and the administrative team all feel very passionate about these missions. With enthusiasm, expertise and personal engagement every single person taking part gives up a week of their holiday and absorbs significant costs in respect of airfare, meals and hotel charges.
Founding members like Dr. Tristan Chalain, Dr. Christopher Wachsmuth, Sue Slater, Hector Gonzales and Ana Barbado have been with ORH right from the start. Only with this commitment can we ensure our sponsors that no money has been diverted from patient treatment. The overall costs of an operation like this are very high and none of this would be possible without your highly appreciated contribution. As we leave Manila tomorrow returning to our own lives wherever in the world that might be, we hope to be able to return, as we promised our patients next year, to follow up on some of them and operate on others in need for help.
With plastic surgery so taken for granted in western civilization and so out of reach for these underprivileged people, through ORH,we can change the future of our patients. We can restore hope.