Guatemala, July 2016
Healing the Children Rocky Mountains took our first trip to Guatemala in July 2016 and ran a Microtia and Cleft mission in partnership with the Pediatric Foundation of Guatemala. We were warmly received by over 45 potential patients in heart of Guatemala City. Children who are born with microtia, or deformity of the outer ear, are susceptible to bullying and negative social attention just as those who are born with cleft lips and cleft palates. Our little team of 8 people, led by Dr. Ryan Brown and included a guest appearance of the talented Dr. Joe Rousso, was thrilled to be able to provide life changing surgeries for 26 patients. Microtia patients require multiple surgeries as their care is done in stages. We hope to see many of them in future missions.
One special young man that came to see us was 19 year old Brandon. He is deaf – so deaf that his hearing aids no longer help him. He is in need of a Choclear implant, but the cost of this implant is over $30,000. His family has been seeking assistance from many organizations around Guatemala without success and the extreme cost has become a limiting factor. Brandon and his family came to see our team in hopes that we could help him. The answer is yes, most likely, but not on the spot. It takes much planning to do this surgery and implant and many weeks of follow up. Healing the Children Rocky Mountains is in the process of trying to bring him to the States to received the surgery for free. More to come on this story.
However, while visiting our team Brandons mother told us that Brandon does not like to leave the house and go outside because he is embarrassed and bullied because of his large ears that stick out. That was something that our team could fix on the spot! Dr. Brown was able to perform a double-Otoplasty on Brandon to “pin back” his ears. In 2 hours, his life was changed. When we showed Brandon pictures of the before and after, he cried and kissed Dr. Brown’s hand, thanking him over and over. This is one step in the right direction, but for Brandon this surgery meant everything!
Top: Brandon before his double-Otoplasty Bottom: Brandon after his double-Otoplasty