Luz’s mother wore the traditional Ecuadorian black hat, flowing skirt and pancho. She also wore a grief that seemed to be just as ingrained.
She held her daughter and waited.
This was not the first time she waited in Loja with hundreds of others wanting surgery for their children. Luz, now 2, was born with a cleft lip. Last year, Luz’s family made the same eight hour journey from the Peruvian border only to be told that it would not be safe to operate on Luz, for she was too sick with fever and an upper respiratory infection. Tragically, Luz was sick again this year, making her little body too weak to undergo surgery.
It was nothing less than heartbreaking.
But when these U.S. doctors go overseas to perform surgery, they bring the same excellent safety standards and high-quality medical practices they use at home with them. There was nothing to be done for Luz this year, for even medicine would not have strengthened her enough during the two-week stay of the doctors. Hopefully, Luz will return healthy next year.
It’s cases like Luz’s that reinforce Interplast’s focus on training and empowering local doctors so that they can perform surgery themselves year-round and for generations to come. Interplast’s vision is a world in which Luz would only have to wait until she was healthy---and not another day longer.