Scripps Team Travels to Mexico to Help Children with Severe Birth Defects

Mercy Outreach Surgical Team (M.O.S.T.) will travel to Ciudad Valles in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, a small town located about 300 miles northeast of Mexico City, October 21 to 27, 2007 to offer volunteer surgery to many children in the community suffering from severe birth defects. During the mission, a team of medical professionals to include physicians, nurses, and translators will treat hundreds of children suffering from severe birth defects, such as cleft lips and palates, hernias and strabismus. Children with these deformities are often separated from society, and some are even abandoned by their parents.

“Correcting the deformities of these children boosts their self-esteem,” explains Thomas Vecchione, M.D., plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Scripps Mercy Hospital and M.O.S.T. board member. “These procedures enable these children to go to school, obtain an education and become vital members of their community.”

For two decades, the MOST team has been providing free medical and surgical care to underprivileged children and adults in Mexico. To date, the team of medical professionals has provided care to more than 7,000 children.

“Your presence in Tehuacan has been a true blessing,” commented one local resident about a past M.O.S.T. trip to Tehuacan in 2006. “You have given these children an opportunity for a new life. Many would have never realized their dreams of being whole after a lifetime of feeling broken.”

Ciudad Valles is a city with 150,000 people encompassing 25 different villages. Most of the rural population has never visited a doctor’s office. The M.O.S.T. team hopes to encourage residents in need throughout Ciudad Valles to take advantage of the free medical care being offered to them throughout the week of October 21. During the trip, the M.O.S.T. team will be working with local doctors and nurses sharing their expertise and knowledge to the benefit all parties involved in the program.

The M.O.S.T. team arranges for follow-up care for its patents, ensuring the safest and most rapid recovery possible. If patients experience complications from surgical treatment, M.O.S.T. partners with a number of local surgeons and anesthesiologists to provide further care free of charge.

The Mercy Outreach Surgical Team (M.O.S.T.) began when two nurses from Scripps Mercy Hospital identified a strong medical need south of the border. The group made its first mission trip in 1988, traveling into the heart of Mexico to treat children with various deformities caused by birth defects or accidents. From this mission trip, M.O.S.T. was born. M.O.S.T. aims to bring hope, comfort and opportunity for a better life through corrective surgery, while sharing medical knowledge and expertise with colleagues in Mexico.

While there are many such medical volunteer groups around the United States, M.O.S.T. has a unique partnership with Rotary International. The Mexican Rotary Clubs offer invaluable support during the M.O.S.T. trip. Rotary members, who serve as key liaisons between government and local officials, provide transportation, lodging, food and help care for the children before and after surgery.

Now nearing its 20th Anniversary, M.O.S.T. has grown into a volunteer group of nearly 100 medical professionals who provide medical and surgical care to underprivileged children and adults of other nations. The team relies on the philanthropic support of donors and the efforts of volunteers to continue providing life-changing procedures to children.

Contact: Pat Robinson
Mercy Outreach Surgical Team

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