Cabo San Lucas - April 2003
International Outreach - Amigos de Los Ninos
This organization was formed in 1989 originally to help provide purified water to needy children. It eventually evolved to organize medical care for the poor and underserved children of the Los Cabos area.
Although several different medical institutions in the United States are now associated with the organization, Loma Linda plastic surgery was one of the first to organize a mission trip to the area.
Loma Linda University Department of Plastic Surgery became involved several years ago through the efforts of two clinical faculty members, Drs. Mills and Collins, and a former resident, Dr. Andreasen.
A patient of Dr. Mills introduced him to the program, and Drs. Andreasen and Collins subsequently took on the challenge to organize the first mission trip.
Dr. Andreasen has a special interest in the program since he had a prior two-year missionary experience in the area.
Goals of the Trip
We Came to Cabo seeking to address the physical deformities of children caused by trauma, burns, or birth defects. It was our hope that in an indirect way this might improve the quality of life of these children, as well as allow them to mesh more wholly into the Mexican society.
We also sought to bring a little sunshine to the lives of the children of the barrio areas of Los Cabos by handing out toys, food, and clothing.
What we accomplished
A pre-trip clinic was held two weeks before the arrival of the main group by Drs. Andreasen and Collins where more than 15 patients were seen and 10 surgeries scheduled.
Robert Hardesty, MD, chief plastic surgeon
Allen Doezie, MD, senior plastics resident
Diana Iniguez, RN
Demeree Andreasen, trip coordinator
Kelli Doezie, interpreter
Ashley Hardesty, interpreter
A total of 8 surgeries were done:
First stage microtia reconstruction
Burn contracture release of the axilla
Cleft lip revision
Periorbital scar revision
Congenital nevus excision
Burn scar excision of neck and chest
This seven-year-old boy was born with a partially absent left ear
When he heard we were in town he wanted to see us even though he had not been previously scheduled. He was a tough little boy who wanted to be a man; the day after surgery when we removed the dressing he did not utter a single cry even though the tears flowed
Rib cartilage was carved to mimic an ear.
Toys and food were brought to the children and families of the poor areas of Los Cabos.
Ties with Amigos de Los Ninos were strengthened to allow future biannual trips to continue. Planning was undertaken to comply with the reforms by the Mexican President Vicente Fox. All participants in future trips will need to be certified/approved by their respective Mexican surgical or nursing societies.