Report from TecateSmiles Mission to Mexico November 2023

Partnership Projects of Children’s Lifeline™ & Smiles International

  • Number of patients pre-screened via telemedicine for review with treatment plan constructed: 42
  • Number of cases presenting on-site for new or confirmation screening: 27
  • Number of cases selected for reconstruction on 2.5 day mission surgical days: 14
  • Cases rescheduled due to physical health reasons: 2
  • Surgical reconstructive procedures performed: 50
    • (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: $183,650.00 USD

Mechanism of Patient Selection and Notifications

Telephone contact is made by prospective patient families via a Mexican answering service through Rotary Volunteers supporting Smiles International Foundation. This information is collated and sent to Dr. Moses, who then holds a preclinic teleconference with the medical surgical/anesthesia team. With the information provided, decisions are made for the selection of safety outcome-based and surgical expertise outcome-planned cases. Appointments are then arranged for the pediatric candidates to be physically screened on the first day of the clinic. This process avoids the lengthy and crowded conditions usually present in other standard mission-care case selections. This method also allows Dr. Moses to carefully arrange, well ahead of the clinic, the appropriate surgeons with the necessary skill sets to operate on each of the variety of cases.

Notably applicable in this governmentally regulated location of Tecate, Baja California Norte MX, minimization of COVID exposure risks is possible with this protocol, satisfying local health authorities and avoiding their blockage of mission projects.

Increase in Cases

There are many more cases that have re-appeared in the community 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. Due to the rapid re-emergence of cases that have been lost to follow-up after the COVID crises, this reconstruction of mission health care in the entire peninsula of Baja-Mexico is tremendously important. Foundations such as the Children’s Lifeline International, and Smiles Intl Foundation include 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 Cabo Smiles project in Feb. and August. In all, four clinics are provided annually with the partnership of CLI and SIF in combination with local support from Rotary International.

The Team

Team members working at the November 2023 TecateSmiles clinic:

Surgical Team at remote H. Cerro Azul, Nueva Hindu Village, Tecate, MX

A Case Study

An example of this process working was the case of Vanessa, a beautiful handsome young female, who traveled from the neighboring state of Sonora by a volunteer Rotary van bringing patients from the village of San Luis, Rio Colorado just across the border south of Tucson, AZ. She was just recovering from an upper respiratory illness, and thus was placed on the “alternate list,” hoping to see improvements by the last day of the surgical clinic. Gratefully, she improved sufficiently to safely undergo intubation for pediatric anesthesia by our expert anesthesiologists, and was able to have her open cleft palate closed and posterior pharyngeal musculature repaired. This will greatly assist her in growing and eating properly without nasal escape of food, as well as developing proper speech and language. This is extremely important for her to enter society as a fully functioning young adult with the ability to chew and eat, breath properly, hear and speak properly, as well as having us help her and her family to find their Smiles! We will follow and treat Vanessa throughout her next years of development.

Vanessa greets us with hope!
Initial records and health clearance for anesthesia
Pre-Op nursing check
Operating room RN brings Vanessa in
After the “time out” team procedure checks, Vanessa drifts off to sleep
IV started on Vanessa for meds and fluids
Surgery now underway
Vanessa now feeding without leaking from her nose
Very happy mother

Unfortunately one small child was forced to wait until her epilepsy management is under control, and is hopefully scheduled for surgery during the May 2024 mission. The parents have the partnership of Children’s Lifeline Intl, and Smiles Intl Foundation to thank for future hope for their daughter.

We look forward to seeing this child in March

The joint efforts through Children’s Lifeline International and the Smiles International Foundations give hundreds, maybe thousands of children afflicted with facial cleft differences and deformities much needed hope for a more normalized future. A future that allows 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.

Enjoy this short video interviewing patients and their families about how THEY feel about their care provided with this program. Click Here for Dropbox access >>

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

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