We are going to Yantalo Clinic founded by Dr. Luis Vasquez in Yantalo, Peru. This is our 4th year there, and we will see children with cleft lip and palate, burns, contractors, hand deformities, and other traumatic and congenital problems they would be unable to have corrected if Yantalo Foundation did not exist. Our team this year will include myself, a pediatric plastic surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a scrub tech, and 2-3 recovery nurses.
This area of Peru is miles from any other medical center, and people will travel days to come. We will screen 60-80 children the first day, and operate for the entire week from daylight into the night. We are privileged to work with the local staff nurses and physicians, and have the opportunity to work and teach the new residents and medical school graduates that come for the week.
The impact for the patients is immediate. Clefts are closed, burn contractors are released, and tumors are removed. They are cared for by the personal at the clinic after we leave, and almost every month, there is another team coming for 7-10 days in multiple specialties. The residents are also amazing...at least 2 of them are now in the US working research / applying for residencies so they can return to Peru and serve their people.
Yantalo Clinic is near the Amazon area of Peru and serves a wide area of people who might never make it to medical care in the larger cities. Some walked for days to arrive with their children with cleft lips / palates, burn contractures, tumors, syndactyly, and many other congenital and traumatic anomalies. We treated many but left some to come back next year. Truly the kindest, most appreciative and hospitable people I have ever had the chance to work with. In our world today, it renews our hearts for why we do what we do!