Our Face the Future™ Foundation, of which I am President, mounted its second major humanitarian surgical mission of 2014 to Ulyanovsk, Russia in the first week of June, 2014.
13 surgeons and nurses travelled to this city of 600,000, about 600 miles southeast of Moscow. Here the local surgeons and all of the Regional Paediatric Hospital staff met us with open arms. As this was our second mission, friendships and relationships had been soundly established and our efforts were mutually just that much more productive.
We find that the hospital staff are, to a person, compassionate, bright and enthusiastic. More than anything, they want to provide the best care to the children under their charge, many of them disadvantaged and virtually all of whom would not be treated optimally unless it were for our efforts. We are also being supported by the Vladislav Tretiak Foundation, he of hockey fame and for lighting the Olympic torch in Sochi. We also enjoyed the support of the Governor of Ulyanovsk, Sergei Morozov and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to direct our future efforts.
Our surgical team consisted of team leader Dr. Anthony Brissett from Houston and myself, performing microtia ear reconstructions, facial scar revisions for burns and trauma, amongst other facial plastic surgical procedures. We also for the first time enjoyed the experience of Dr. Carla Giannoni, a paediatric otolaryngologist from Houston who performed a total laryngeal reconstruction. Another newcomer, Dr. Howard Epps, showed our hosts previously unknown approaches to orthopedic surgeries. Dr. Eric Jones, a paediatric urologist from Houston and a long-time member of our teams, performed a large number of endoscopic urologic reconstructions. Our loyal paediatric general surgeon from Baylor, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, shared innovations in gastroenterological surgery with his colleagues. We also had a nurse, Karen Sonnier, and a technician, Heather Leard who supported our team’s work and taught local operating room nurses.
Our team was rounded out by Dr. Elena Sourovtseva, a hospitalist from Oakville; Drs. Lukas Kus and Amy Richter, residents who were invaluable in their photographic documentation, record-keeping and surgical assistance; and Ilya Shkarupin, my executive assistant who facilitated organizational needs and provided translation.
Altogether during the week we performed 39 procedures and consulted on 92 patients.
We are keeping in touch with our host medical staff regarding follow-up care and plans for assessment of patients for next year’s mission.