Our 2013 mission brought us back to Chengdu Women’s and Children’s Central Hospital for the third time. We were warmly welcomed by the hospital staff and president Meng MAO, MD who told CCPF she shared our same goal: “to provide the highest level of care for the children, and to promote relations between the US and China.”
The team arrived the evening of Thursday, April 11, and as soon as Friday morning began screening almost 50 children, scheduling over half for surgery. Thirty-three procedures were completed altogether; thirty-three lives transformed. Previously unusable hands now have working fingers; straightened toes and feet allow little steps to be taken; crooked backs were straightened; hernias repaired; reproductive organs fixed; cleft palettes and lips closed so that children will be able to drink from a bottle and say their first words. The children arrived from orphanages and foster homes as close as Chengdu and as far as Henan, a 20-hour train ride. Read our blog from China.
The 2013 medical/surgical team was the largest ever, with almost forty members including plastic surgeons, urological and general surgeons, and a seven-member orthopaedic group. The 2013 team was the largest ever, with almost forty members including plastic surgeons, urological and general surgeons, and a seven-member orthopaedic group. Combining talents with Chengdu surgeons, CCPF was able to perform several very complex spine, hand, foot and general surgeries that would not have otherwise been possible. As part of our educational component, over 120 pediatricians, nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists from throughout Chengdu attended a day-long conference hosted by the CCPF medical team covering a range of topics such as Prevention of Surgical Infections, Scoliosis and Syndactyly Surgery, and Perioperative Nursing.
April 15th was the launch of the Spagnoletti Rehabilitation Program at the Chengdu Welfare Institute, home to over 600 orphans; many of whom have disabilities. This state-of the-art facility includes a school, therapy gym, and teaching classroom that is well equipped, clean, bright, and kid-friendly. The children, from infant to age 12, are happy, well fed, and well cared for by a loving and attentive staff. Our team of 16 – physical, occupational therapists, and speech therapists along with pediatric rehabilitation doctors, orthotists, and translators – were warmly welcomed and got right to work training the staff in how to provide the latest and best care for children with cerebral palsy. Each morning, the team began with presentations, followed by afternoons with hands-on demonstrations of techniques in the therapy gym to the extremely appreciative and receptive therapists, aides, caregivers and other staff at the Welfare Institute. In addition, a full-day conference on cerebral palsy was presented to an audience of over 100 rehabilitation specialists and caregivers from throughout Chengdu.
Just as the mission was wrapping up, a 6.9 earthquake struck just west of Chengdu. Our team was safe, as were the Chengdu Hospital and orphanage. While it disrupted departure plans for many team members, all thoughts were for those directly affected.
We are proud to report a very successful mission and are truly grateful for our doctors and other medical personnel, translators, floor volunteers, and all of our supporters and friends in making this trip a great success.
A warm thank you to the CCPF 2013 Mission Team.
COLINGO-FAHLBERG, Kelly – Anesthesiologist
DINGEMAN, R. Scott – Anesthesiologist
KEARNEY, Marshall – Anesthesia Tech
LO, Chi-Man – Anesthesiologist
STEWART, Frank – Anesthesiologist
CONNOR, John – Urology
LAZAR, Eric – General Surgery
SCHULLINGER, John – General Surgery
CADY, Robert – Clubfoot specialist
HYMAN, Joshua – Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery
JIANG, Kevin – Ortho Resident
POON, Selina – Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery
ROYE, David – Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery
TANG, Peter – Orthopaedic Surgery – Hand
YIN, Bob – Ortho Resident
RHEE, Sam – Plastic Surgery
WU, June – Plastic Surgery
Operating Room Nurses/Tech
CHAMBERLAIN, Diana – OR Nurse
DITTIGER SIAVACHY, Gertrude – OR Nurse
GALLO, Ed – OR Tech Monitoring
GRANDE, Carmela – OR Nurse
SISON, Rene – OR Nurse
WANG, Flora – OR Nurse
Recovery Room – Physicians
BEILER, Harvey – Pulmonologist
CHANG, Carolyn – Pediatrician
LARUSSA, Philip – Infectious Disease
WONG, Mei – Pediatrician
Recovery – Nurses
HARRISON, Demond – Respiratory Therapist
MOBLEY, Carolyne – PACU Nurse
RICHARDS, Stephen – PACU Nurse
ALFONSO, Elizabeth – Physical Therapy
BENENATI, Vincent – Orthotics
BISHOP, Lauri – Physical Therapy
COLEMAN, Denise – Physical Therapy
GREIS, Sharon – Speech and Language
KIM, Heakyung – Rehabilitation Medicine Physician
LAU, James – Orthotics
NELSON, Virginia – Rehabilitation Medicine Physician
RASMUSSEN, Lynette – Occupational Therapy
SCHWARZ, Rebecca – Occupational Therapy
TUNNEY, John – Orthotics
Volunteers/Translators in the Hospital
CHO, Kawing – Medical Student for Recovery area
LIOU, Peter – MD for General Surgery/Plastic
MENG, Lei – Nursing student for OR Nurse & photography
TANG, Ji – MD, MPH for Operating Room
XU, Nanfang – Medical Student for Ortho team
YU, Zhe – MD, MPH – for Ortho team
Volunteers in the Welfare Institute
LEUNG, Jeffrey – PT translator
QIN, Paige – OT translator
TAN, Jing Jing – Speech translator & photography
YAN, Daniel – Medical Student – PT translator
YE, Carey – Orthotics translator
An incredible ending to the 2013 mission occurred at 8:00 a.m. local time when a 6.9 earthquake happened just west of the city of Cheng Du.
We are all safe. The Cheng Du hospital and orphanage are fine. Some of our team were in planes waiting to take off. Some waiting to board. Others in their hotel rooms feeling the sway of the high rise hotel.
The team made flight and hotel adjustments and are all feeling great concern for those directly affected. We wish everyone a safe arrival home and thank the team for their incredible work.
Our last surgery occurred yesterday when a new patient arrived at the hospital from the orphanage. Dr. Peter Tang had visited the Chengdu Welfare Institute to examine some of the children and discovered a child with Aperts syndrome who would benefit from surgery. The disorder left this child’s fingers fused together so there was no functionality. Referred to as “spoon” hands, this one year old was not able to hold his own bottle. After a six-hour surgery, the child now has a thumb as Dr. Tang was able to make the separation and give him a working digit.
That was the 33rd surgery performed on the 2013 mission.
Saying good-bye to the staff, colleagues and especially the children is difficult. Knowing that each child’s life has been transformed in some way by our visit, and seeing their smiles is a lasting memory.
We made our rounds to say good-bye. The OR nurses came up to the patient floors for the first time to see the kids and say good-bye.
Xiao tian, a 14-year-old, who had walked into the hospital using crutches will be walking out of the hospital without crutches. His smiles were wider than all of ours combined.
The collaboration between the Chengdu Women’s and Children’s Central Hospital and the Chengdu Welfare Institute was very evident today with the presentation of the full-day Rehab conference focusing on Cerebral Palsy. Hosted at the hospital and emceed by the orphanage director, our Rehab team presented lectures to an audience of over 100 rehab specialists and caregivers from throughout Chengdu.
Lectures included: Spasticity, Physical Therapy in Low Functioning Children, Orthotics and Serial Casting with Bracing, Dysphagia and Feeding and Swallowing Problems, and Occupational Therapy for Positioning, Bimanual Tasks and Sensory Integration. In addition Dr. Heakyung Kim demonstrated the use of Botox injections on a child for treating spasticity.
Friday was devoted to education… classroom style. The Chengdu hospital invited over 120 pediatricians, nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists to attend a day-long conference featuring CCPF speakers. Lectures started at 8:30 a.m. and continued until 5 p.m. All presentations had been translated by our team and each speaker was accompanied by a translator at the lectern.
Topics included Anesthesia for Children with Infections, Prevention of Surgical Infections, Anti Reflux Surgery, Scoliosis and Syndactyly Surgery, Urologic Robotic Surgery and Perioperative Nursing.
Carmela Grande, RN, and Trudy Dittiger-Savachi, RN, brought the room to full attention with an interactive way of describing proper precautions in the operating room. They had prepared a drawing of an operating room and asked for audience participation to describe “What is wrong with this picture.”
The Rehab team presented their lectures each morning and then in the afternoons divided into groups to provide hands-on training with the staff at the Welfare Institute. Learning that they rarely get to attend lectures and all of their training is on-the-job, the staff was extremely appreciative and receptive. And they wished our team could stay longer! The comfort level was increased to the point that some picture taking was allowed.
In one demonstration by Sharon Greis, she was able to help the staff learn how to feed a child who had not been able to eat without difficulties. She showed how to position him in his wheelchair, hold the spoon, work with this facial muscles and in the end he took his first spoonful of food and was able to drink from a straw. Applause erupted from the staff.