The Mercy Surgical Outreach Team (MOST) recently returned from Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico, where members performed 293 procedures to repair cleft palates, cleft lips and strabismus or crossed-eyes.
“Correcting the deformities of these children boosts their self-esteem, " says Thomas Vecchione, MD, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Scripps Mercy Hospital and MOST board member. “These procedures enable them to go to school, obtain an education and become vital members of their community.”
Several times a year, MOST volunteers make trips to Mexico to operate on children who have traveled from the impoverished countryside. Often these patients have deformities which alienate them from society.
The trip to Tehuacan was co-sponsored by local Mexican Rotary Clubs, which also hosted a celebration for the MOST volunteers that was attended by the Secretary of Health for the State of Puebla and the Mayor of Tehuacan. The team spent a week in Mexico and was hosted by Hospital General de Tehuacan. MOST has a unique partnership with the San Diego Rotary Club, which in turn partners with Rotary Clubs in Mexico. Additionally, the program involves local physicians and providers so that they may develop and sustain medical programs in their community.
Since its inception in 1988, MOST has treated more than 5,000 patients with almost no access to health care have been treated. The ultimate goal of MOST is to establish self-sustaining programs in Mexico.