ORH 2018 - Screening Day
After two days of preparing the operating theatres and utility rooms, the day to screen potential patients has arrived. Underprivileged families and their children have been waiting for this day for a very long time and have come from the townships of Manila as well as far away regions, often demanding a 24 hour long and exhausting journey to reach the hospital. This is their chance for a life-changing operation which would otherwise be. Now medical records need to be created and the plastic surgeons have to decide on the procedure suitable for each individual case.
The children will undergo a thorough health check performed by our anesthetists and pediatricians to eliminate potential risks and to give the ‘go ahead’ for surgery. Possible heart or pulmonary diseases must be ruled out as they would put our little patient’s lives at risk. At the end of ‘screening day’ the scheduling for the coming week begins and the lists for the three operating teams are drawn up. This is not as simple as it sounds as the ages of the patients and the length and type of surgery have to be factored in, so as to balance the pressure on the operating teams and provide the optimal conditions for each patient.
Cleft lips and cleft palates are common health conditions in the Philippines. Many factors contribute to the development of s cleft, including genetic history, nutritional deficiency during pregnancy, insufficient pre natal care, poverty, and other, as yet unclear etiologies. Babies with clefts can be hard to breastfeed and are very often malnourished,underweight and prone to respiratory ailments.
Because of the defect the children will later have great difficulty in developing intelligible speech and are therefore often stigmatized, excluded and bullied by their peers in school which hinders a proper social integration and negatively impacts on a normal and independent life. In most cases the teeth are affected as well, necessitating often extensive dental and orthodontic treatment to complete the corrections.