Report from TecateSmiles Mission to Mexico May 2023

Partnership Projects of Children’s Lifeline™ & Smiles International

  • Number of patients prescreened via new remote answering service: 38
  • Cases pre-selected for reconstruction on 2.5 day mission surgical days: 16
  • Number of cases rescheduled due to medical reasons developed: 6
  • Number of cases added at clinical site: 1
  • Surgical reconstructive procedures performed: 66
    • (reason for multiple procedures performed under the same pediatric anesthesia; it was performed this way in order to make best use of the opportunity for child’s overall safety with less exposures to anesthesia throughout care.)
  • Relative value of cases if performed in the USA at hospital setting with specialist anesthesia , surgeons, and nursing facility charges: $363,900.00 USD

Mechanism of Patient Notifications

Again, we tested the viability of the recently instituted (post COVID) remote screening and triage system which has advertisements that guide patients, their parents, and neighbors to a single-access point cellphone number with an answering service which instructs them to leave their contact information wherein then, a team volunteer from Rotary Clubs living in Mexico personally calls back on the weekend to gather specifics of their needs. That team member then requests photos, scanned copies of x-rays or CTs (if available in certain syndromic cases) and state their physical location in order to select which mission location to schedule their visit if they are selected for surgery by the medical team.

This information was collated, sent to Dr. Moses who then held a preclinic teleconference with the medical surgical/anesthesia team and, with the information, decisions were made for the selection of safety outcome- based and surgical expertise outcome-planned cases for arranging appointment for the pediatric-candidates to be physically screened on the first day of the clinic. This process avoided the lengthy and crowded conditions usually present in prior methods of mission care case selections. It also allowed us to have Dr. Moses carefully arrange the appropriate surgeons with the necessary skill sets to operate each of the variety of cases at hand in his team selection well ahead of the day of the clinic.

Especially applicable in the governmentally regulated location of Tecate, Baja MX-Norte, minimization of COVID exposure risks were obtained by this method satisfying these local health authorities thereby avoiding their blockages of future mission projects. This mission provided on-site Covid testing of the parents and children if required prior to their scheduling following Anesthesia Health Clearances.

Increase in Cases

There are many more cases that have to re-appeared in the community after the lengthy closure of health care facilities and clinics during the Pandemic, and Children’s Lifeline International/Smiles International Foundation projects are now focusing efforts at both the Northern AND Southern end of Baja Mexico. This is at the heart of the reconstruction of mission health care in the entire peninsula of Baja-Mexico including care for traveling patients from the neighboring Mexican Statehoods of Sonora and Sinaloa who arrive to the clinic prearranged by bus or ferry to La Paz portals for the CaboSmiles project in Feb. and August. Four total clinics, in all, are provided annually.

The Team

Team members working at the May 2023 TecateSmiles clinic:

A Case Study

One beautiful example of this process working was the case of this handsome young male who traveled afar to reach this clinic and whose parents promised to be faithful to the services of the mission so that we can provide each of the many (5-7) surgical corrections that must take place over the early years of this child’s first 15 years in order to assure the ability for him to enter society as a fully functioning young adult with the ability to chew & eat, breath properly, hear & speak properly, as well as having us help him find his SMILE! We will follow and treat him throughout his development.

Obtaining initial records and pre-anesthesia clearance for health
Finding room in the surgical schedule for this additional patient
Preoperative anesthesia and nursing check health status
Dr. Moses transports baby for surgical room hand-off
Initial foot pulse/O2 monitoring
Time-out team pause to assure all permits, plans and equipment are in order…while anesthesia gently prepares patient for sleep
Surgery is performed… and results are obtained
Before and after

Before and after
Mother feeds peacefully
A happy family with future hope for their boy, thanks to Children’s Lifeline International working together with Smiles International Foundation’s field operations

The joint efforts through the Children’s Lifeline International® and the Smiles International Foundations give hundreds and thousands of children afflicted with facial cleft differences and deformities hope for a more normalized future allowing them to grow and flourish in their communities. Abilities to eat, speak, breath, hear and SMILE cannot be underestimated in their value to allow integration to their communities for functioning young adult members of their work force.

Prof. Jeffrey J. Moses DDS, FAACS
Diplomate, Amer. Board Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery President/Founder,
Smiles International Foundation

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