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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Plastics Patients Come and Go

Whilst we were away the 2nd round of plastic surgery went on. Watching our plastics patients heal after surgery is an incredible testament to the healing powers of the human body.  The debilitating contractures that our volunteer surgeon Dr. Tertius Venter operates on are often caused by fire. When burn wounds are left untreated, the skin stretches and heals itself in the only way that it can after a trauma.  For many of our plastics patients, restoring function and appearance means restoring life.

Dr. Tertius Venter, explains how we change lives with plastic surgery: 
"In Plastic Surgery, the word 'plastic' comes from the word "plastiki". It's a Greek word which means to re-mold, or to form, and that is what we do. A majority of the work we do on the ship is restoring function after burn injuries and burn contractures. Our main purpose through Mercy Ships Plastics Surgery Program, is to get people's function back so they can function normally in their societies."
B Ward became chock full of plastic patients who were in various stages of the healing process.  Above is Chadrac, post-op!  He was one of our cutest plastics patients. He had surgery to release burn contractures on his hands.   He is coming along well in his rehabilitation exercises!  His skin grafts are healing and we are continuing to treat them.  An important element of his recovery is his exercise regime so he can regain the use of his wrists which involves stacking Jenga blocks.  
When he is all healed up, Chadrac has one goal: go to school.
Jordis, 8, waits in B Ward with his mom and sister before going into surgery. Jordis needed plastic surgery to correct his deformed left foot. Jordis hoping for a speedy recovery so that pretty soon he can be on the soccer field.
Accidents happen all over the world, but in developing countries, healthcare is not easily accessible. In Congo, an untreated burn can leave victims immobilized. Let one of our patients tell you in his own words:

"I am Anselme, I am 63 years old. In 2009 I was in an accident, hot water from a car radiator burned my arm. That is what paralyzed and deformed my arm. I cannot shift a gearstick and drive. I want to be able to drive a car again. That is what brought me here, so that they can heal my arm."
Here is the group of nurses that supported Dr. Tertius and care for all our patients.

In Congo so far we've completed 199 plastics surgeries on 172 different patients and followed up with over 2,500 services including dressing changes, wound care and rehabilitation exercises. We're grateful for our amazing plastics surgery team and all of their hard work in Congo!

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