Surgeons here to save lives

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 27 February 2018, 12:00AM

A team of surgeons called Surgicorps International is in Samoa to help.

The group of plastic surgeons perform surgeries on patients with cleft lip/cleft palates and also a wide range of other types of surgical and medical care including hand surgery, treatment of burn scar contractures and vehicle accidents.

Their mission is to correct such conditions, to help people live a more normal, healthy and productive life.

According to a release from the U.S. Embassy, the non-profit U.S. based Surgicorps International team of physicians and medical professionals provide free surgical and medical care to people in need in developing countries as well as foster exchange of knowledge and experience among medical professionals.

They are working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the National Health Service and they will be in Samoa until March 2.

According to the Executive Director of Surgicorps, Linda Esposto, it has been a busy first two days at the hospital. 

“When we entered Moto’otua, the hospital staff engaged us immediately. They were willing to work with us and were helpful to make sure all patients were attended to."

“We are happy to be here because we have already completed 21 surgeries and we hope that by Friday we can at least see 40 more patients."

“It is always interesting for us when we first enter, how people just trust us and they give us their children and family members and allow us to do our services where it is needed."

“As our first time in Samoa, we are very hopeful that we are welcomed back to provide plastic and reconstructive surgeries and hand surgery to those in need."

“We are plastic and reconstruction surgeons and hand surgeons, so if there is someone in your community who needs service, they can come."

“We are here to work and we will try and do as many patients as possible while we are here and maybe also get an invitation to come back.”

Founder and Medical Director of Surgicorps, Jack Demos, founded the Surgicorps International 25 years ago and this is the team’s 100th trip around the world.

“This is our 21st country,” he said.

“It has been an excellent trip."

“First of all, the hospital is a great place and the staff members are superb, they are very confident.

“We laugh, we joke together and we work together."

“The patients who we have seen have been challenging patients and every one of them has been nothing but courteous, even when we have to say I’m sorry but we can’t help you because this is something we are not specialised in."

Asked how many patients they have been working on since they arrived.

“We have screened now about 70 patients,” he said.

“We did eight surgeries on Monday and had done 13 yesterday."

“We weren’t expecting a huge number of patients; we have seen some things we have never seen before in other parts of the world."

“So it’s been fun."

“There are a lot of locals who are with us and learned from what we are doing."

“That is one thing we are open to is anyone who wants to learn from us, we are here and we like to help them expand their knowledge.”

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene 27 February 2018, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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