Flying Doctors of America: A Short Synopsis of a Medical Mission
Last spring, in one of the poorest countries in Central America, more than 1500 people stood in line patiently waiting to see “the doctors from America.” Some had travelled all day from outlying, rural areas armed with big expectations, in search of an opportunity to rekindle a spark of hope.
Many came for their children, many who were born with cleft lips and palates, a condition that makes them potential social outcasts and unmarriageable burdens to their families for their entire lives.
The village’s operating room was “state of the art” outfitted with additional equipment that the doctors brought from the U.S.
But, “state of the art” looks a bit different in a third world country.
The borrowed stainless steel equipment was situated in a windowless, OR without air-conditioning, punctuated with flies and mosquitos. Patients rested on a six foot folding table that did not go up or down, requiring the surgeon to change position, and bend over the surgical field, for the entire operation. Lighting was provided by one, overhead fluorescent bulb. Suction for surgery was achieved by a tube connected to a faucet. When the water was run, the negative pressure created the only suction available. The anesthesiologist was adept at assisting and keeping the rhythm of the patient’s breathing by constantly pumping a manual bag. Coveted medicine (donated supplies that were due to expire soon, and, as such, would have been tossed into the trash in the U.S.) facilitated the procedures.
Yet, in a three day period, when temperatures outside tipped the scales at 90 degrees, facial cosmetic surgeon Mike Majmundar worked tirelessly alongside his team, comprised of local professionals, who spoke broken English, and other volunteers from the Flying Doctors organization. They completed 24 operations, inhabiting the humble operating room from 7 a.m. in the morning until 10 p.m. at night.
And Dr. Majmundar wants to do it again.
“Next time, I know what we’re up against, and I can make the most of what we can gather and bring,” he explained. The sheer number of people who came underscored the need. “It was so hard to turn people away,” he said. Particularly hard for Dr. Majmundar was an 18-month-old little girl with a cleft lip. “She was the most gorgeous little girl, such a happy toddler,” he smiled. The girl’s family had arrived at the head of the long line at the end of the day. Dr. Majmundar decided to fulfill his obligation to eat dinner with the village’s mayor and then come back and do the little girl’s surgery. Unfortunately, her bloodwork came back with a clotting disorder that would not have been a problem …in the U.S., but made the surgery too risky for her at home. “It was heartbreaking.”
For more than 20 years, Flying Doctors of America has been bringing together physicians, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, other health professionals, and non-medical support volunteers to care for people who otherwise would never receive professional medical care. The group operates under the “Mother Teresa Principle,” focusing on the poorest of the poor who live in conditions that are difficult for most Americans to imagine. Knowing that someone cares renews hope for these people who live in an otherwise hopeless situation.
Please Join Us!
as Dr. Majmundar Hosts:
True Beauty.. an Evening to Benefit Flying Doctors of America, Thursday, October 11, 2011
6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Enjoy wine, appetizers, and the opportunity to meet representatives from Radiesse, Botox Cosmetic, Restylane, Juvederm, Sculptra Aesthetic, Belotero, Latisse, Melanage, Revision Skincare and more! Opportunity to win complimentary Botox and Restylane! Gift certificates available and, by appointment, complimentary mini consultations with Dr. Majmundar. 770.475.3146
Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery, Roswell/Alpharetta Office
11681 Haynes Bridge Road, Suite 200
Alpharetta, Georgia 30009