Transforming Lives in Peru With ReSurge International – Fourth in a Series

Posted by: in Inside WCG on February 28, 2011

Here is the final installment in a four part series about my experiences in helping ReSurge make a difference in the lives of young children with deformities and injuries repairable by surgery:

Day 4 – Supporting Angels

I saw today via a new lens….a video camera lens. While I used the flip cam throughout the week to capture some magical moments, interview parents post surgery, capture some of the team members’ thoughts, today I was the cinematographer to a film like no other.

Eric, the lead surgeon, completed surgery on a four year old boy who suffered from a congenital ptosis (drooping eyelid or blepharoptosis). In this condition, the border of the upper eyelid falls to a lower position than normal. In severe cases, the drooping eyelid can cover all or part of the pupil and interfere with vision. This was, in fact, the case with this child, and Eric asked me to film the procedure as a case study for ReSurge/ teaching purposes.

It was a relatively complicated procedure taking body tissue from an incision in his leg to literally weave through his eye thereby creating  tension along existing eye muscles to form an adjustable rubber band-like simulation using his own flesh.  Mission accomplished! This child has the longest eyelashes  — a feature no one even noticed until post surgery as previously we were focused on his drooping lid and lack of eye symmetry.

This was one of seven cases today and hard to imagine anything more fascinating but between a fireman’s burned hands, a beautiful ten year old girl’s burned foot, a nine year old boy’s cleft lip, a three year old’s webbed hand surgery….there were many moments I stood in sheer awe. And yes, I remained standing without passing out despite the graphic nature of the surgeries. I’ve certainly come a long way from day 1 in a very short period of time.

Today was my final day at the hospital and it was bittersweet. Still so much work to be done (the team is staying another week) and we collectively accomplished so much in so little time. But clearly, much, much more could and should be done beyond what is realistic in a two-week time period.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to support true angels completing miracles on an hourly basis. I hope that ReSurge International continues to be well funded and able to send annual trips to Pucallpa, Peru and other areas in need to carry on the great work it has begun.  In the meantime, I wish the team staying on, another week of delivering hope successfully. Thank you for letting me be part of the hope.

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  1. Gail, your work with ReSurge is extremely inspiring. I would love to know how to get involved myself and maybe one day go on a medical trip.

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