Trip Highlights

Sister of patient

We operated on 70 patients over 5 days. Wednesday was the longest day when we did 20 surgeries. It took a team of 25 people and worked with more than a dozen Rotarians. We need many support people for each surgery. These include the Anesthesiologist, OR nurses, Recovery Nurses, Instrument cleaners, Dentists and a Pediatrician.

Local Nurses assist our team

Local nurses who have received their nursing degree assist our team and receive work experience.

Georgia, Mel and Jacqui

Two years ago my daughter Julia and Georgia led the instrument cleaning team. Now the team is three. All are in college. Georgia is now in her third year with the team. Parker, my 17 year old senior son, was supposed to join the team until he broke is leg 4 weeks ago. I think he missed out!

The anesthesiologists were all from Australia. The three nurses in the foreground were from the Philippines. The surgical team, Drs Maguina and Kamal are at the head of the table.

20 of us road in a Jitney. This is a traditional small bus popular in the Philippines.

Unusual Clefts

Ramil has a lateral facial cleft

Ramil is 12 years old and lives with his parents and 7 siblings. His father is a carpenter and his mother a housewife. He has a lateral facial cleft which makes his mouth very large on one side. Because the muscles are disrupted he drools from that side.

The mouth is asymmetrical

As is common with this condition he has unusual ears.

The facial cleft and ears were repaired by Drs Maguina and Dyleski

















Ramil now has a symmetrical mouth and his ears appear more normal. When he heals he will be back to he normal happy self.

The Pediatric Ward

How can anyone can sleep?

The ward is made up of 24 cots. One cot per patient and family. Sometimes the patients  must double up and have two per cot. Where do the parents sleep you must be thinking. As we all know, life as a parent can at times be difficult.  We can all remember the night when our child had an ear infection and know one got any sleep. This brings a new meaning to not getting any sleep.

Rounds are a little different than in the US

Each morning and evening we make rounds on the patients. As needed we come during the day. One of the members of the team, Joy Zane, is a pediatrician who cares for the patients along with the Filipino nurses. Fortunately, the patients are strong and seem to complain less than their US counterparts.

Brother and Sister

It looks a little like camp

I am sure these two patients will be happy to only spend one night

First Day in OR

Today we had 16 patients scheduled for their cleft repair and we did all 16 cases. Eight cleft lip repairs and 8 cleft palate repairs.

We  finished this last case at 6:15. Then the patient has to awaken and go to recovery. It takes about an hour to recover a patient. It is a long day! But it is all worth it.

When you look at this child it can be hard to imagine how we have changed his life……Until you meet an adult who has lived with the condition their entire life. We all know fitting in as a teenager can be hard. We saw many patients with a recurring theme.


They stopped attending school because they were teased. They live with their parents. They did not have jobs. How will they support themselves?


We arrived at the hotel at 12:30 AM. The room was just what I needed…..A nice bed! Unfortunately, the morning came quickly. Then it is off to the screening clinic.

The hospital in Lapu Lapu had crowds of people all hoping to have their clefts repaired. The process to see 80-100 patients at times seems chaotic.

Each patient is seen by a team of surgeons and then screened by a pediatric anesthesiologist.

All patients are seen by dentist, Lothar who does some dental extractions on most of our patients while they are having their clefts repaired.

The highlight was seeing Alora. Alora seems very happy and confident. This is an amazing change from one year ago when she was so very shy. Patients like Alora make all the traveling worth it.

Alora’s Story

Alora’s Story

I have participated in over 30 surgical outreaches to 8 different locations throughout the world. Last year Alora touched me and the members of our team is ways that no other patient has ever affected us.
Alora was born with a Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate. She had a lip repair as a child and never had her palate repaired. Her speech was not intelligible.

Because of her appearance she had few friends. She wondered why God had tested her in this way.

The entire team of surgeons met and struggled with how to help Alora. Was there a way to restore her in only one week? In the US we would have orthodontists work with the patient for a year or more, just to get her ready for one of many surgeries. This option was not available in the Philippines.

We finally decided to repair her palate and align her teeth in one surgery. This would mean  sacrificing some teeth, but the final outcome would be worth it. At a second surgery that week we would restore her lip. An ambitious goal, but worth it!

The second surgery was preformed with sedation without a general anesthetic. This protected her recently repaired palate from being injured by placing a breathing tube into her lungs.

Alora before surgery

When we left Alora looked amazing. Her life was changed. Maybe a husband and children were now in her future. After surgery it takes several months to know how the surgery would turn out. Imagine how it feels to see the long term result.

We look forward to seeing her in person. She may need another surgery to further help with her speech.

Cebu Philippines 2012

This years adventure begins Friday February 10 with a flight on Korean Airlines from San Francisco to Seoul Korea to Cebu Philippines. We left our home at 7:30 AM Friday. It is now 7:30 PM Saturday. We have one more leg to reach Cebu.

I am traveling with Sally Kamal, a resident from UC Davis. We have been eating Korean food like Bim him bap.While at the airport we sported some traditional Korean attire.

This years team features three surgeons from UC Davis, two surgeons from U of Utah, one surgeon from Loma Linda University and one from Kaiser San Diego.