Report from TecateSmiles Mission to Mexico May 2024

Partnership Projects of Children’s Lifeline™ & Smiles International

  • Number of patients screened for review: 30
  • Number of cases selected for surgery: 10
  • Surgical reconstructive procedures performed: 43
    • (reason for multiple procedures performed under the same pediatric anesthesia; it was performed this way 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: $202,000.00 USD

Mechanism of Patient Selection and Notifications

This time there were telephone connection appointment reminders by Smiles International volunteers on the Wednesday before clinic. Operating from the Kumiai Hotel at a business meeting space, calls were made to patients operated on, or seen, at the last two clinics in November and May of 2023. Additional radio and television announcements were made by the Rotary Club of Tecate one and two weeks prior to the clinic.

Increase in Cases

There are still many more cases appearing within the Tecate community as well as over in the State of Sonora after the lengthy closure of health care facilities and clinics during the Pandemic. 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 Baja Peninsula, including care for traveling patients from the neighboring Mexican Statehoods of Sonora, here in Tecate. The orphanage group Caring Hearts of Mexico provided transportation by van and offered patients group hotel accommodation since the journey takes a full day’s travel by land.

The Team

Team members working at the May 2024 TecateSmiles clinic:

Surgical Team, Tecate, MX

Unfortunately, some of the primary cleft lip babies were either too young for safe anesthesia, or syndromic and required further growth and development before safely including them in this clinic’s important work and outpatient care. The ones not selected due to medical and anesthesia concerns were given baby care instructions, feeding bottles, and an appointment for the next clinic in November 2024.

An example of one of these cases is this young baby with Holoprosencephalus, who was examined, plans made for treatment, and then referred for hospital echo-cardiology and cephalic CT scans. (See photo)

Variety of Cases

Below are an assortment of clinic photos as the days began with screening and anesthesia, health and surgeon procedure verification, opening surgery, team huddle smiles and waves, and preoperative views of patients with their parents.

Initial exams
First selected patient
Initial exams
Case files
Preop – time for sleep
Happy mother and daugher
Preop – Gloving
Surgery commences…
And continues
Three Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons: Campbell, Moses and Cadili

The joint efforts of Children’s Lifeline International and the Smiles International Foundation 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 into their communities, becoming healthy and fully functioning young adult members of their communities.

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

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