We met Rolando over a year ago, when he was just under a year old...he was so tiny and so fragile, underweight (hard for cleft lip babies to nurse)...we got him through all his aspiration pneumonias, put weight on him, got him to OpSmile last year when they came to Panama but he developed a fever and had to postpone...for a year...Two days ago we brought him back again, across the water from Isla Popa II to Bocas, from Bocas over a 5,000 foot tall mountain range to the other side of the continent, and today at 3PM the surgical team repaired his lip AND palate!!
Thank you OpSmile, you guys are AWESOME!!!
His mom Noris is one of the greatest moms we have encountered ANYWHERE--a true example of putting your kids first as a parent...she had never been to the mainland before our first trip last year, never been in a car or a city, never seen a building with more than one floor...I will NEVER forget driving over the mountains, walking into the 8 story hospital in a city of 1 million, where the doors automatically opened, and seeing her brace herself as the elevator we were in started to move....so much overwhelming new stuff, and she has sooooo much dignity and determination. This is what it means when your patients trust you...and what can be accomplished when they do!
I can't wait to show Rolando these pictures when he is older...I wonder what his future will hold...Can't wait to see. I've been his doctor for more than half his life...I always admired my dad's relationship with patients he had for 30 years or more.This is why I spent all that time studying medicine in the first place...this is the salary I take from Floating Doctors, the pay that cannot be taxed and can never be taken from me, the pay that makes me feel like the richest man in the world.
Dr. Benjamin LaBrot
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