Thursday, January 13, 2005
The Burning Issue of the Day
Cleft palates get a lot of attention, and deservedly so. But the burning issue that this Interplast team sees emerging is an increasing amount of burns to the face, neck, armpits and backs of legs. Just look at some of the cases today:
• Angel, 3, who trekked three hours here. Things went wrong for him while playing with a gasoline lamp.
• Dany, 6, here for his 3rd surgery for a burn incurred at 2 years old while playing with a drain acid and then rubbing his eyes.
• Franco, 26, with burns so severe his chin was attached to his chest for three years without care. (Pictured prior to surgery.)
• Wilma, 27, suffering an accident with a gas lamp.
As you can see, all were “household” accidents. I knew living conditions here were wanting, but it’s more rudimentary than what I envisioned.
Fixing cleft palates bring with it the immediate satisfaction of a smile—and that’s great. Fixing burns are not quite as transparent. While these burns are not pretty, the real magic these plastic surgeons provide is the less obvious yet tremendous gift of unleashing freedom of movement. As Dr. Lisa Gould remarked during her operation on Wilma, now she’ll be able to brush her hair.