Comprehensive cleft care addresses every aspect of the life-long care required by children born with cleft lips and/or palates, dramatically improving their physical and psychological health and providing them the best chances to live full, productive lives.
To document the comprehensive care Smile Train partners are doing, we followed Dr. Luis González’s talented staff at Smile Train partner hospital Esculea’s Cleft Clinic in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.
This year-round cleft clinic is attended by patients from all over Honduras. In addition to plastic surgeons, the team includes a dentist, an orthodontist, an anesthesiologist, a speech pathologist, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor, a genetic pediatrician, a psychologist and a social worker, in addition to various medical interns.
Marie Martinez was born with a bilateral cleft lip and surgeons closed the left side of her lip when she was six weeks old. Because she has allergies, she is being observed by the clinic’s immunologist pediatrician. Once she is well enough, the doctors will be able to perform surgery for the right side of her mouth.
Four-month-old Mainor Rodriguez has come to the clinic for a check-up two weeks after his surgery. Clear changes are already visible and Dr. González (left) is happy with Mainor’s progress.
13-year-old Heiden Guitierrez dropped out of school because she was being bullied. Dr. Gonzalez says that his team plans to perform a palate repair to help Heiden improve her speech. After the surgery, the doctors hope that Heiden will be able to go back to school with her head held high.
26-year-old Riccy Nohemy recently received her cleft surgery and is at the clinic for a check-up. Riccy was also born deaf and is unable to speak so her grandmother travelled with her to help communicate with the doctor.
Katherine Sarahi was born with a cleft lip and palate. She does not have the same muscle strength as children who don’t have clefts. Speech therapist Dr José Castro works with Katherine to exercise the muscles to help them function more effectively.
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