Sunday, November 11, 2012

Skin grafts and cystoscopies

Rudenchly was an infant when a house fire nearly killed him. His mother wasn't home and when he was pulled out of the smoky hovel, his feet were a burned mess. That was in November 2011. We didn't meet him until this summer by which time most of his toes had fallen off from infection, and he had adhesions where the skin had pulled tight during the healing process, keeping his right foot in a position that would make it impossible to walk.


Getting his feet fixed at a Haitian hospital would be very expensive, far beyond the capacity of a single mom in Jubilee. Not to mention, it would require skin grafts, a skill that you won't find in most operating rooms in Haiti.
Luckily, a visiting surgical team called LEAP came to Port-au-Prince last weekend to do free surgeries. I took Rudenchly and his mom, Leila, for a check-up and they approved him for a plastic surgery repair where they released the scar tissue on his ankle, pulled the foot into a more natural position, and took skin grafts from both sides of his groin to cover where they'd cut the adhesion.
The docs were very pleased with the results and so were we! He will go back to Port-au-Prince for a second surgery with LEAP in April, but his chances of walking have already been hugely increased.
Rudenchly isn't the only kid I had operated on that weekend. Two children I've been following for several years in Port-au-Prince got cystoscopies to see what is going on internally. It turned out that Casimyr had scar tissue in his urinary tract causing him chronic urinary problems, so the surgeon performed the first of two operations to remove the obstruction. Dayana has ambiguous genitalia, but the docs examined her and found that she has a perfectly beautiful-looking uterus, so they wanted to perform extensive plastic surgery to let her be a girl externally as well as internally. Unfortunately, we couldn't find blood in any of the blood banks in Port-au-Prince, so her surgery had to be postponed til April.

One other burn victim, Samantha, did not get operated because her burns are too recent. But frankly, 2 out of 4 is more than enough for me. Maybe in April, I'll be able to go 3 for 3!
Thanks LEAP!


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