Judith Ricketts
Judith Ricketts
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist · Norfolk, VA

Yantalo 2019

October 4th
Moyobamba, Peru

Project Description

I am a pediatric CRNA from Norfolk, VA. I will be traveling to Moyobamba, Peru in October for a mission trip to provide plastic surgeries for the children in the area. I will be joining an amazing group of volunteers, including a plastic surgeon from my hospital. This will be my second trip with this team, and while we are a small group, we do make an impact in this region. We operate in a free standing hospital that was built by a physician who's family is from this area. Our most common surgeries are cleft lip and palate repair, polydactyly or syndactyly excision and burn scar revisions.

Population Served

The people in the rainforest of Peru have very limited access to health care. In our specialty of pediatric plastic surgery, the children would have to travel to Lima to be seen. The patients who come to this hospital have often travelled long distances on foot or by motorcar. Many of these children are disfigured and present as shy and lacking self-confidence. They are hopeful that surgery will help them feel more "normal" and accepted. For the smallest of patients, it's their parents who hope surgery will allow their children to have a bright future.

Expected Impact

While most of our surgeries are not life saving, they are life changing. The outcomes affect both the patient and their family. Working with this population is especially rewarding. While these surgeries are commonplace in industrial nations, they are not in Moyobamba. Giving these people an opportunity to have surgery for their children is a great privilege . Not only does it change the lives for these kids and their parents, but it changes all those who get to participate in their care.

Trip Photos & Recap

I am a pediatric CRNA from Norfolk, VA. This is my second mission trip to Yantalo, and I loved every minute of it! Yantalo is in the Amazonian jungle of Peru. We go there to provide pediatric plastic surgery to a population that is unable to get to the larger cities for care. Our group is quite small compared to other mission groups. We have only one surgeon; thus, the number of procedures we can perform in a week are limited.
This year we did fewer surgeries than last, but we were able to do some more in depth procedures. We did a number of bone grafts taken from the hip and implanted in an alveolar cleft. Some of the other procedures we did were cleft palate/lip repair, burn scar revisions and ear tag removal just to name a few.
The families of the children who have surgery are so appreciative for the opportunity. It makes you feel like you are really doing something great one patient at a time! I'm so thankful for Doximity allowing me to go on this trip. It was life changing, not only for the patients we served but for myself as well!