Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The patients are awarded a precious treatment card, their ticket to surgery. On screening day I helped with the taking the histories, the last station before patients went to see the Dr's and recieve their card. In all 117 reconstructive procedure candidates were added to the surgical calander during the event. A further 60 patients were selected to see the ship's orthopeadic surgeons later in the year.
The screening was conducted at Tubman Stadium in the heart of Monrovia. There was estimated approximately 1000 people atteneded with 253 taken into the stadium. Dr. Gary Parker stated "This is our third year in the Monrovia area, so we may have treated the needest people in our first couple of visits. That would be encouraging to think that we'd actually made a dent such that we are not seeing today the number of cases we normally see."
Twelve year old Sarah was the last patient to recieve a reonstructive surgery. Sarah comes from the remote southeastern corner of Liberia where her family farms rice and sugar cane. When Sarah was born with a cleft lip the family tried to find help but the Liberian civil war intervened. Doctors and nurses fled the region as the fighting grew worse. However than a second opprotunity presented itself in the form of Mercy Ships.