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First screening day

Morning meeting to discuss the plan of action for our first clinic day.

Morning meeting to discuss the plan of action for our first clinic day.

Dr. Iravani (Anesthesiologist) and Monica (Recovery nurse) prepare a 1-year-old cleft lip patient for surgery

We started the day with an 8 AM team meeting over breakfast.  Ruth Ann talked about our plans for the day and everyone’s duties when we arrive at the hospital. Dr. Horowitz went over some general safety guidelines and why we are in Armenia and our purpose here, which is to share information and collaborate with the Armenian hospital staff, as well as perform reconstructive surgery.  At 9 AM we made our way to the St. Grigor’s hospital for our first day of screening and surgery. Upon arrival, the Armenian staff warmly welcomed us and we were given a tour of the impressive facility, which is the largest hospital in Armenia, and boasts 1,500 staff members and houses 550 patient beds. After the tour, we got to work like busy bees working to unpack bags/suitcases of supplies and equipment, familiarizing ourselves with hospital’s equipment and the people whom we’ll be working closely with during our stay here.  Then came the rush that was screening. Children from just a couple months to 18 years of age were seen for cases such as cleft lip, cleft palate, syndactylys and polydactylys.  We were able to operate on two children: a 1-year-old boy with a cleft lip and a 3-year-old girl with webbed fingers and toes.

Dr. Horowitz examines the hand of a 3-year-old girl

The collaborative nature of Plasticos missions.

Dr. Horowitz performing a syndactyly release of the left hand of a 3-year-old girl for, as the Armenian staff observes.

During surgery, the OR was packed with Armenian doctors and staff who were eager to see and learn new techniques. The workday ended at 8:45 PM, and although we’ve only been here for one day, it already feels like we were here longer, perhaps because it is so easy working with the Armenian staff. All -in-all our first day was a great success.  We are thrilled at the opportunity to work with such an accommodating hospital! Despite the language barrier, everyone went out of their way to help make things run smoothly for us.  Tomorrow, we have six surgeries lined up, in addition to screening, AND we have a Plasticos first – Dr. Horowitz will be demonstrating cleft palate surgery with the help of a camera and video monitor so that more surgeons may closely view the procedure.

Monica (Recovery Nurse) and Dr. Iravani in the recovery room with our first patient of the trip!

Family dinner after a hard day's work.

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