ReSurge and ASSH Volunteers Share Their Experiences from Bolivia

ReSurge and ASSH Volunteers Share Their Experiences from Bolivia

Bolivia,
September 30, 2019

In May of this year, a medical team of hand surgeons and hand therapists traveled with ReSurge, in partnership with American Society for Surgery of the Hand, to La Paz, Bolivia to offer free surgeries to those suffering from a hand injury or deformity.

The need was great. Many people traveled from long distances to get help. In Bolivia, there is a high rate of syndactyly, where children are born with one or more fingers or toes fused together. For adults, manual labor is fundamental, with people working on farms, in factories, or in mines. But with this work comes a number of hand injuries, which can leave people unable to take care of their families.

Despite being a country of 12 million people, Bolivia only has one fellowship-trained hand surgeon, Dr. Jorge Terrazas. Dr. Terraza is a ReSurge International Medical Partner which means we partner with him to develop ongoing year-round programs that meet the needs of his local community.

The trip in May was a huge success, with over 150 people seen and over 70 surgeries performed. Many that were not eligible for surgeries were seen by the hand therapists on site.

Here are the stories of three of our volunteers from the surgical mission team:

Dr. Aaron Grand, Hand Surgeon

Hand surgery is really important for everyone, everywhere.  The hands are our way of interacting with the world.  Even a relatively minor injury, if untreated (or treated incorrectly), can result in severe limitations in our ability to function.  Being able to make a hand functional gives these kids (and adolescents and adults) the opportunity to use that hand for school, training, or any type of work in the future.  It allows them to care for themselves and even support a family. 

Given the need in Bolivia, there is only so much Dr. Jorge Terrazas can do. We were happy to be there to help provide the support he needs to help those in need. In the time we were there, we performed over 70 surgeries. 

The hospital in La Paz, Bolivia, is relatively rudimentary, but very functional.  Dr. Terrazas, his team, and all the doctors and nurses there do a great job of working with what they have to help their patients.  I was glad to be able to help by applying my surgical experience to a population which is truly in need and truly grateful for everything we could do.  

This was my first trip with ReSurge, but I hope it is only one of many.

Mary Oswald, Hand Therapist

This was my first surgical mission trip and what an amazing experience!  Ironically, back in 1983 –1985 when I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I brought kids with cleft palate and cleft lip from our village to Azoges , Ecuador, to see the surgeons from Interplast for surgery.  They left a huge impression on me; they worked so hard and saw so many kids and made huge impacts on peoples’ lives. I didn’t know until I was accepted into ReSurge’s mission trip that ReSurge used to be Interplast!   

Dr. Terrazas and his team were all fantastic.  We especially worked with the Bolivian therapists, especially Nini who continues to send us at least weekly updates and videos on What’s App of our patients progress, which has been so fantastic to see.   

I especially appreciated the way that the ReSurge crew and Bolivian crew worked so well together.  It was something that I think ReSurge should be very proud of; the surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, were constantly teaching, but in a very mutually respectful way.  No condescension whatsoever.  Professional to professional.   

There were so many interesting people who we met as patients during our time there, but my mind really goes to the story of Jaqueline, a lovely woman who had been stabbed by her ex-husband 15 years ago. The brutal attack landed her in the hospital for over a year, ending her journalism career. She had to re-learn to walk, and had a horrible brachial plexus injury to her left arm resulting in no use of the extremity.  

While I was working with her, we had a very personal conversation where she explained that her husband was not in jail, having bribed the local authorities. This is apparently quite common. I suggested that maybe there was something she could do to make what happened to her turn into something positive. The following week, she returned to our clinic to bring me a present and to tell me that she had been thinking about it and was going to start writing again about domestic violence and corruption. 

Nina Healy, Hand Therapist

I have been a therapist since the mid 1970’s.  I am in the twilight of my career, affording me the gift of time so that I can donate my services on medical mission trips. This is my third surgical mission trip with ReSurge International and my second with The Touching Hands Project of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. I had the honor of visiting India with ReSurge in December 2018 and Bolivia in May of 2018 and 2019. 

What I found in both India and Bolivia was an overwhelming appreciation from the people. Both the patients and the medical communities in each country were gracious, warm and welcoming. Our visiting teams worked collaboratively with the local teams, reaching out to patients who might otherwise not have been able to access the therapy and surgical care they needed. When we made a splint for a patient, or showed them either an exercise or a technique that made it possible to accomplish a task that they couldn’t perform previously, eyes would light up and connections were made! 

The patients I’ve encountered on these trips frequently have more severe and varied needs in terms of injuries or afflictions. In India, about 90% of the cases we saw were burn injuries. I spent most of my day working with burn victims to help reduce their contractures with exercise and splinting or by fabricating splints to protect the skin grafts they had just received in surgery.  

In La Paz, Mary and I worked with a wider variety of diagnoses, treating almost 100 patients with everything from congenital defects, arthritis,burns, auto accidents, to knife wounds. The electrical systems in Bolivia and India can be unpredictable and there is a prevalence of burn injuries from electricity. These electrical burns can have devastating effects. 

My first surgical mission trip was to Bolivia with ASSH and ReSurge International in 2018. It was rewarding for me to return a year later and see a number of familiar faces, both patients and staff.. One patient I saw on both trips was Rita. Last year she had a surgical repair to tendons in her hand after lacerating it with a knife while cooking. Rita is the sole provider for her family and has a good job in an office.  Her hand injury made it impossible for her to perform her typing duties at work. After her surgery in 2018 to repair her cut tendons I worked with her two times a day for eight days. She improved but still had limited motion in her hand. When Rita walked in to the triage area this May, we immediately recognized each other. She had returned for follow-up surgery to free up the repaired tendons. Her surgery, in the care of our skilled hand surgeons went well, and she was diligent in participating in therapy.  When we left she was well on her way to returning to being able to type again. 

The days are not easy on these trips. We typically work 10-12 hours a day. But it is by far the most rewarding experience.  Someone once said that “when a disparate yet dedicated group of people come together for a common goal, magic happens.” That was true on this trip. The coordinators made our days smooth and work possible, the translators made communication with our patients and team meaningful, the nurses were competent and caring, the physicians, surgeons and anesthesiologists were amongst the most technically competent and gracious I’ve encountered. This team was exceptional to work with!  My next mission is to Bangladesh with ReSurge and I can’t wait.

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Introducing Anna Luan, ReSurge’s Third Laub Fellow

USA Headquarters
August 29, 2019

We are proud to introduce Anna Luan, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge founder, the fellowship allows for a fourth-year resident at Stanford’s division of plastic and reconstructive Surgery to work with ReSurge for a year in order to hone reconstructive surgical and research skills.

Following is a Q&A with Anna.

Tell me a little about yourself and your background.

I grew up in the South Bay before leaving for college at UC San Diego, where I studied bioengineering and health economics. I continued there to complete a Master’s degree in bioengineering and explored jobs in bioinformatics and industry before deciding to pursue medicine. I returned for medical school at Stanford and discovered a passion for plastic and reconstructive surgery, and have been fortunate to continue at Stanford for residency.

What made you want to go into reconstructive surgery?

Reconstructive surgery resonates so strongly with me because it has a unique focus on improving function and quality of life. No other surgical field places quite as much significance on a patient’s individual perspective and needs. At the same time, it demands rigorous understanding of complex and diverse anatomy to achieve complex problem solving. This special blend of patient-centered care, creativity, and methodical principle-based decision-making drew me into the field and continues to inspire me.

How did you hear about the Fellowship?

I had wanted to become involved since learning of ReSurge trips when I started residency. When the Laub Fellowship was established two years ago, I was immediately interested. Speaking with past Fellows about their experiences further solidified my interest in the fellowship.

What drew you to it?

The Laub Fellowship offers the unique opportunity to work closely within ReSurge, which has been a pioneer in not only surgical trips but in driving the shift toward improving local surgical capacity. It is incredibly gratifying to be able to have this experience as a resident to learn about reconstructive surgery abroad and to contribute to improving sustainable surgical capacity in a meaningful way.

What are you most interested in experiencing on your first ReSurge surgical trip?

I am really excited to witness the exponential impact ReSurge’s visiting educator trips can have and to develop longitudinal partnerships with the surgeons and staff abroad. I am also looking forward to seeing reconstructive surgery problem solving in different health care systems with various patient needs and resources. I think we have a lot to learn from each other.

The fellowship involves more than just the surgical trips, but rather working within other areas of ReSurge.  Why do you think this is important?

Although the surgical trips are the most visible portion of ReSurge’s work, it is critical to continue to develop its training program, evaluate the clinical outcomes and impact, and to identify further areas in which to expand or optimize.

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Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date on the latest happenings at Resurge International. Join our Community!
* indicates required

Latest Stories

Patient Stories

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Alam lives in an apartment building in Dhaka, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. …

Regaining the Ability to Walk | Mohammed Hussein

Mohammed Hussein was just 7 years old when the accident occurred that left him on crutches. He was p …

12 Years After Cleft Lip Surgery

Ganesh is 14 years old. Despite living in a small rural village of Nepal, he dreams of becoming a do …

The Road to Hope | Priyanka

Vijay arises early, before the sun is up, and gently wakes his daughter Priyanka. She looks into his …

A Glimpse into Man Kumari’s life

Outside Bharatapur, a southern crossroads town where Nepal’s east and west meet on the nation’s main …

A bright Future | Kalus

Kalus is an 8-year-old boy from a small village between Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal, who could no …

Creatively Treating Acute Burns | Astha

Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony wh …

Freeing Sirisu’s Hand

Sirisu is a charming 4-year-old from Nepal who accidentally scalded his arm while making hot food fo …

Restoring future dreams | Rinchin

Rinchin, 13, wants to be a movie star. He is one of the patients we met recently when students from …

Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

Four-year-old Nguyen was born with three of his fingers fused on each hand, a congenital birth defec …

Helping Mother and Child | Hoa & Hoai

Hoa, a young mother, knew intimately the stigma of a cleft lip as she had been born with one herself …

A Family Renewed | Thi

The ReSurge team fell in love with 3-month-old Thi Ngol Quyen during a trip to Vietnam in April 2013 …

A Contracture Released, A Life Renewed | Quynh

Like more than 2 billion people worldwide, Quynh’s family in Vietnam does their cooking over open fi …

Mom and My | A Mother’s Hope

Sixteen-month-old My and her mother, Hat, live in Quy Nhon, on Vietnam’s eastern coast. When Hat was …

A Mother’s Dedication | Y Dim

Y Dim, now 2 years old, was born in the rural mountains of Vietnam with a cleft lip. After she was b …

A Smile 58 Years in the Making | Tam

On a surgical team trip to Quy Nhon, Vietnam, we met Tam, a man who has been waiting 58 years to hav …

Removing Stigma | Huynh

Five-year-old Huynh was born in a small village in Vietnam with a condition known as congenital hair …

The Character and Spirit of Hasan

Hasan is a daughter, a sister, a mother and at the moment, our patient. Hasan’s smile is a clear win …

An Emotional Return to India | Nisha

I’ve been looking forward to returning to Dehradun because I would finally get the opportunity to re …

The Incredible Impact | Punkaj

In early 2013, ReSurge sent a team trip to Dehradun, India, where we have a Surgical Outreach Progra …

Magali: Paying it forward

Magali’s original accident took place when she was two years old. Her mother was preparing caramelo …

Healing Hands: Joseph and Adriana

Joseph is a 7-year-old boy from El Alto, Bolivia. He was born with syndactyly, a condition in which …

Future Basketball Player | Jonathan

When you meet Jonathan, you quickly realize he has more cares than a typical 6-year-old should. He h …

Dara: The Right Start to Life

During a clinic in Nicaragua last March, we met 2-month-old Dara. Dara, like so many other children, …

Our First Patient | Antonio

In the 1960s, Antonio, a 13-year-old boy from Mexicali, Mexico, was being raised by his grandmother, …

The Real Impact of Surgery | Luis Fernando

On a trip to Ecuador in 2012, we met five-year-old Luis Fernando. Two years prior, he had been terri …

Andrea: From Patient to Nurse

Jacqueline’s 28-year-old daughter, Andrea, is her pride and joy. When Andrea was born with a bilater …

Making Connections for His Care | Sorie

As the director of international services at ReSurge International, Amy Laden is often contacted by …

Helping Oumar Be Mali’s First Reconstructive Plast…

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 12,800 people—and no reconstructive plastic surgeons. …

Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a l …

Seeking Advice on a Hyena Bite

When Dr. Goran Jovic was presented the case of a teenager attacked by a hyena, he turned to ReSurge …

A Mother’s Hope For Her Son

Mateo was one of nearly 17,000 people who receive a severe burn every year in Zambia, a country with …

Chrispine and Mwate: Crossing the Border for Hope

Determined to do the best they could for their babies, mothers Bella and Mwanga banded together for …

Jacob’s Arms are Freed

Five-year-old Jacob is bright, outgoing and likes to play football. But life for Jacob hasn’t been c …

Meet Jonas from Tanzania

Jonas is one brave little 5 year old. He lives with his family under a giant baobob tree on the plai …

A mother’s fierce hope | Basanti

ReSurge’s patients and their families are brave. They are strong. They are fighters. Some take a bus …

Hands & Father’s Hope

When Favour was 3 years old, he was at home alone with his 12-year-old cousin who was looking after …

Razia, Rohingya Refugee

Razia, Rohingya Refugee

Bangladesh,
February 28, 2019

Earlier this month, a ReSurge surgical mission trip visited Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, where we treated Razia, a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar. The Rohingya are an ethnic minority with their own language and culture. Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country, denies citizenship to the Muslim Rohingya and refused to count them in the 2014 census.

Razia was 38 years old when the Myanmar military burned her village, setting fire to her home in the middle of the night. Beginning In 2017, during clashes between Rohingya militants and the military, troops have burned villages and attacked and killed civilians. 

Razia’s three children, an 18-year old son and two daughters aged 14 and 11, managed to escape the blaze unscathed. Razia was not so lucky. By the time she realized the house was burning, the roof fell in, severely burning Razia’s right arm, back and shoulder.

The family was living in Kimeching Village in Myanmar at the time of the fire. After Razia was injured, her children put her in a boat for the hour-long journey to the Bangladesh border, hoping to find help for their mother. Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar have created a refugee crisis in the Bangladesh district  of Cox’s Bazaar, where the influx of nearly 1 million refugees represents a 43% increase in the district population. 

On arrival in Bangladesh, Hope was exactly what Razia found, in the form of Hope Hospital. After the family registered in a refugee camp near the border, a camp official realized how badly burnt Razia was and sent her immediately for treatment. Razia had her initial surgery at Hope, where they were able to stabilize her and provide minimal surgical care for her injuries.

We met Razia this month when she returned to Hope Hospital, having heard about the ReSurge surgical mission trip. Razia hoped to get the use of her arm back, especially her wrists. According to Razia, the burns had stiffened her arm, making it feel heavy and much harder to work with.

Razia came to the hospital from the Rohingya refugee camp, where she and her husband have lived since the fire that left her so badly scarred. They remain at the camp because they feel is it a safe place where food is provided and their children can attend school. And she also needs the help.

“I don’t have the heart to think about the future,” Razia told us when we met her this month. “It is enough for me to know my children are safe.”

Thanks to the ReSurge volunteers’ commitment to treating not only local people, but the refugees, Razia was able to receive surgery that released her contractures, providing her with even more hope  for her future and the future of her family.

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Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date on the latest happenings at Resurge International. Join our Community!
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Latest Stories

Patient Stories

Stories from the Field

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

ReSurge International is an international global health organization driven to address surgical ineq …

In Good Hands: The Story of Young Bibas

“Other than the face, our hands are the most communicative part of our body when connecting to the o …

How ReSurge is Shaping the Future: A Conversation …

At ReSurge International, our reconstructive surgical care and training transforms the lives of thou …

Lawrence Cai: Meet the Laub Fellow Quantifying our…

The Donald R. Laub Fellowship program, named after our founder Don Laub, allows for a fourth-year re …

Volunteer Spotlight: Honoring The Golden Girls of …

It’s a sunny day at the Canyon Inn, a classic family diner decked in1970s sports memorabilia in Redw …

Donor Spotlight: How Women Surgeons in Los Angeles…

Empowered women empower women. Since we launched the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWR …

Learning and Unlearning: Our DEI Journey

“The pandemic plus the national attention to matters of equity—including access to healthcare—have h …

Juneteenth National Independence Day Statement

On June 19, 2021 the United States will celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day, as an offici …

Surgical Partner Profile: Matolase Mtonga

Dr. Matolase Mtonga always knew she wanted to be a surgeon. But as a medical student in Zambia she f …

Transformations: 2020 Annual Report

The year 2020 was unlike any other. We began on a high note, celebrating our 50th anniversary as the …

Standing in Solidarity with India and Nepal

Dear Friends and Colleagues, The current situation and devastation caused by the novel coronavirus i …

Hope in Nepal: A Mother and Baby’s Journey

A child born with a cleft lip in Nepal has a tough journey ahead. Difficulty breastfeeding and chron …

Volunteer Spotlight: Dharshan Sivaraj

At ReSurge International, we have the honor and privilege to work alongside many talented partners, …

Delali Attiogbe Attipoe Brings a Wealth of Experie…

In pursuit of finding a non-profit that shared her personal passion of expanding health access to th …

Making a Powerful Impact in Peru 

Dr. Percy Rossell-Perry, a practicing reconstructive surgeon at Edgardo Rebagliati Ho …

Board Spotlight: Meredith Taylor

A ReSurge Board Member since 2015, Meredith Taylor was recently named Chair of our Board of Director …

The Higgins-Shaw Nepal Microsurgery Fund 

None of our work would be possible without the steadfast support of you, our donors — together we’re …

Our Founder – Don Laub

Our Founder, Dr. Donald Laub  In 1969, a group of volunteers from the Bay Area’s Latin Ame …

Do You See What I See? 

ReSurge is proud to announce our collaboration with Ohana One International Surgical Aid,  …

Board Spotlight: Eileen Sheldon 

  Eileen Sheldon, ReSurge Board member, recently did a spectacular job chairing our T …

Volunteer Spotlight: Deb Rusy M.D

How did you hear about ReSurge and get involved? One of the University of Wisconsin pediatric neuros …

ReSurge Board Views Impact Up Close

In May, members of ReSurge’s board of directors visited our surgical outreach partner sites in Nepal …

Interview with New Laub Fellow, Chao Long

We are proud to introduce Chao Long, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge …

Interview with Laub Fellow Dr. Anna Luan

Dr. Anna Luan recently completed the Donald R. Laub Fellowship. Named for our ReSurge founder and co …

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Fossum

When ReSurge volunteer Sue Fossum first heard about ReSurge, she was working in the PACU at UC Davis …

Dr Hien Thi Nguyen Honored at Transformations Gala

Dr. Hien Thi Nguyen knew the rural poor of her country needed the medical services ReSurge provides. …

ReSurge, COSECSA Partner to Launch Initiative in S…

ReSurge is pleased to be launching a new initiative to increase access to safe reconstructive s …

What I Learned Firsthand on the Ground in Dehradun

By Tom Seery I spent the first days of 2020 in Dehradun, India as part of a visiting educator trip w …

Fiftieth Anniversary Flashback: The 1980’s

When Dr. Mark Singleton was asked to join a surgical mission trip in 1986, he was intrigued by the t …

Kathmandu Leadership Training

Last month, we packed our bags and headed to Kathmandu for a week of leadership training for the emp …

ReSurge and ASSH Volunteers Share Their Experience…

In May of this year, a medical team of hand surgeons and hand therapists traveled with ReSurge, in p …

Introducing Anna Luan, ReSurge’s Third Laub Fellow

We are proud to introduce Anna Luan, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge …

Ty, Acid Burn Survivor

Ty is a thirty-four-year-old woman with a beautiful smile. We treated her on a recent visit to Phan …

Helping India’s Children Heal From Burns

Meet Sheetal. At age 12, she was burned in a fire at her home where she lives with her widowed mothe …

Donor Spotlight: A Lesson in Karma

“If you do something good for others, something good will come to you.” This is how Anthony D. expla …

Cleft Palate Repair Follow Up in Vietnam

An important part of our mission is to provide reconstructive surgical care for poor children and ad …

Delivering Long-Term Impact Through Anesthesia Tra…

A well-known expert in pediatric anesthesiology, Dr. George Gregory has volunteered his skills with …

Dr. Shankar Man Rai Bio

Dr. Shankar Man Rai, a world-renowned expert at repairing clefts and burn injuries, has provided mor …

Dr. Pramila Shakya: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shakya is a maxillofacial surgeon at the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center at Kirtipur Hospital in Kat …

Dr. Celma Issufo: Pioneering Women in Reconstructi…

Dr. Issufo is the plastic surgery service director at Mozambique’s Maputo Central Hospital. She trea …

Dr. Shilu Shrestha: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shrestha is an orthopedic hand surgeon at the Hospital and Rehabilitation center for Disabled Ch …

Dr. Faith Muchemwa: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Muchemwa is a consultant plastic and reconstructive  surgeon, at Parirenyatwa Hospital at t …

Dr. Farzana Ibrahim: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

Dr Ibrahim is a senior registrar in the plastic surgery department at Birdem General Hospital (Bangl …

Dr. Lorena EScudero: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

Dr. Escudero is a plastic surgeon at Luis Vernaza Hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the largest nonpro …

Training the Next Generation of Surgeons in Cuba

At the beginning of his career, Dr. Bill McClure was on track to become a cardiovascular surgeon–th …

Life-Changing Microsurgery in Nepal

In mid-July, ReSurge sent visiting educators Dr. Gordon Lee and Dr. Matthew Chetta to train local re …

Burn Care Education in Mozambique

In late August 2016, a visiting educator team made ReSurge’s inaugural visit to Mozambique, as part …

Improving Nursing and Specialty Care in Bhutan

ReSurge’s Visiting Educator trips to Bhutan are making an impact after just over a year working in t …

Creating Lasting Impact in Zambia

A patient story as told by Dr. Goran Jovic. At first, I did not notice anything unusual about him. I …

An Empowered Survivor | Kanchana

Kanchana is a bright young nurse in Sri Lanka. She graduated eleventh out of 30,000 nursing students …

Giving a Mother Peace of Mind

When baby Christine was born in central Zambia, her mother immediately noticed that something was wr …

Reconnecting with Lilliam After More Than 10 Years

The year was 1987, and Marlon and Violeta in Nicaragua were like any other parents of a new baby gir …

Making Dreams Possible | Tonmoy

Tonmoy was living the life of a typical 6-year-old boy—climbing trees and running around. One day, w …

Back to School Despite His Disability | Alam

Alam lives in an apartment building in Dhaka, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. …

Regaining the Ability to Walk | Mohammed Hussein

Mohammed Hussein was just 7 years old when the accident occurred that left him on crutches. He was p …

12 Years After Cleft Lip Surgery

Ganesh is 14 years old. Despite living in a small rural village of Nepal, he dreams of becoming a do …

The Road to Hope | Priyanka

Vijay arises early, before the sun is up, and gently wakes his daughter Priyanka. She looks into his …

A Glimpse into Man Kumari’s life

Outside Bharatapur, a southern crossroads town where Nepal’s east and west meet on the nation’s main …

A bright Future | Kalus

Kalus is an 8-year-old boy from a small village between Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal, who could no …

Creatively Treating Acute Burns | Astha

Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony wh …

Freeing Sirisu’s Hand

Sirisu is a charming 4-year-old from Nepal who accidentally scalded his arm while making hot food fo …

Restoring future dreams | Rinchin

Rinchin, 13, wants to be a movie star. He is one of the patients we met recently when students from …

Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

Four-year-old Nguyen was born with three of his fingers fused on each hand, a congenital birth defec …

Helping Mother and Child | Hoa & Hoai

Hoa, a young mother, knew intimately the stigma of a cleft lip as she had been born with one herself …

A Family Renewed | Thi

The ReSurge team fell in love with 3-month-old Thi Ngol Quyen during a trip to Vietnam in April 2013 …

A Contracture Released, A Life Renewed | Quynh

Like more than 2 billion people worldwide, Quynh’s family in Vietnam does their cooking over open fi …

Mom and My | A Mother’s Hope

Sixteen-month-old My and her mother, Hat, live in Quy Nhon, on Vietnam’s eastern coast. When Hat was …

A Mother’s Dedication | Y Dim

Y Dim, now 2 years old, was born in the rural mountains of Vietnam with a cleft lip. After she was b …

A Smile 58 Years in the Making | Tam

On a surgical team trip to Quy Nhon, Vietnam, we met Tam, a man who has been waiting 58 years to hav …

Removing Stigma | Huynh

Five-year-old Huynh was born in a small village in Vietnam with a condition known as congenital hair …

The Character and Spirit of Hasan

Hasan is a daughter, a sister, a mother and at the moment, our patient. Hasan’s smile is a clear win …

An Emotional Return to India | Nisha

I’ve been looking forward to returning to Dehradun because I would finally get the opportunity to re …

The Incredible Impact | Punkaj

In early 2013, ReSurge sent a team trip to Dehradun, India, where we have a Surgical Outreach Progra …

Magali: Paying it forward

Magali’s original accident took place when she was two years old. Her mother was preparing caramelo …

Healing Hands: Joseph and Adriana

Joseph is a 7-year-old boy from El Alto, Bolivia. He was born with syndactyly, a condition in which …

Future Basketball Player | Jonathan

When you meet Jonathan, you quickly realize he has more cares than a typical 6-year-old should. He h …

Dara: The Right Start to Life

During a clinic in Nicaragua last March, we met 2-month-old Dara. Dara, like so many other children, …

Our First Patient | Antonio

In the 1960s, Antonio, a 13-year-old boy from Mexicali, Mexico, was being raised by his grandmother, …

The Real Impact of Surgery | Luis Fernando

On a trip to Ecuador in 2012, we met five-year-old Luis Fernando. Two years prior, he had been terri …

Andrea: From Patient to Nurse

Jacqueline’s 28-year-old daughter, Andrea, is her pride and joy. When Andrea was born with a bilater …

Making Connections for His Care | Sorie

As the director of international services at ReSurge International, Amy Laden is often contacted by …

Helping Oumar Be Mali’s First Reconstructive Plast…

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 12,800 people—and no reconstructive plastic surgeons. …

Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a l …

Seeking Advice on a Hyena Bite

When Dr. Goran Jovic was presented the case of a teenager attacked by a hyena, he turned to ReSurge …

A Mother’s Hope For Her Son

Mateo was one of nearly 17,000 people who receive a severe burn every year in Zambia, a country with …

Chrispine and Mwate: Crossing the Border for Hope

Determined to do the best they could for their babies, mothers Bella and Mwanga banded together for …

Jacob’s Arms are Freed

Five-year-old Jacob is bright, outgoing and likes to play football. But life for Jacob hasn’t been c …

Meet Jonas from Tanzania

Jonas is one brave little 5 year old. He lives with his family under a giant baobob tree on the plai …

A mother’s fierce hope | Basanti

ReSurge’s patients and their families are brave. They are strong. They are fighters. Some take a bus …

Hands & Father’s Hope

When Favour was 3 years old, he was at home alone with his 12-year-old cousin who was looking after …

Ty, Acid Burn Survivor…

Ty, Acid Burn Survivor

Vietnam,
January 31, 2019

Ty is a thirty-four-year-old woman with a beautiful smile. We treated her on a recent visit to Phan Rang in Vietnam. Ty’s hometown is Tân An City in the Mekong Delta region of the country.  It’s quite far from Phan Rang, so Ty spent more than 7 hours on the bus to reach the hospital.

Though her smile is beautiful, Ty’s face is badly scarred. Two years ago, a vindictive boyfriend  threw acid on her because she refused to marry him. The act destroyed Ty’s life as she knew it. Though her attacker is in prison, he was sentenced to just 5 years for this act. 

Before the accident, Ty had a good job in a textile factory. She earned about $135 per month, or $0.84 per hour. After her injury, her employer would not retain her, telling her that her appearance made her unemployable. She now works picking fruit, earning just $0.67 per day. Most heartbreaking of all, though she receives support from her brother and aging mother, Ty is unable to earn enough to care for her 10-year-old son, who now has to live with his father. 

In addition to her disfiguring facial and neck scars, Ty had not received sufficient post-burn care, so the skin on her right arm tightened, locking her elbow into a bent position. ReSurge performed two procedures on Ty, releasing her right arm so she can straighten it, and releasing the scars on her neck to improve the mobility of her head and neck.

Ty’s dream is to return to the workforce in a job that provides enough income so she can care for herself and her young son. She calls ReSurge her “second parents” for setting her on a path to a new life.

testing form here

How Can I Help Now?

Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date on the latest happenings at Resurge International. Join our Community!
* indicates required

Latest Stories

Patient Stories

Stories from the Field

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

ReSurge International is an international global health organization driven to address surgical ineq …

In Good Hands: The Story of Young Bibas

“Other than the face, our hands are the most communicative part of our body when connecting to the o …

How ReSurge is Shaping the Future: A Conversation …

At ReSurge International, our reconstructive surgical care and training transforms the lives of thou …

Lawrence Cai: Meet the Laub Fellow Quantifying our…

The Donald R. Laub Fellowship program, named after our founder Don Laub, allows for a fourth-year re …

Volunteer Spotlight: Honoring The Golden Girls of …

It’s a sunny day at the Canyon Inn, a classic family diner decked in1970s sports memorabilia in Redw …

Donor Spotlight: How Women Surgeons in Los Angeles…

Empowered women empower women. Since we launched the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWR …

Learning and Unlearning: Our DEI Journey

“The pandemic plus the national attention to matters of equity—including access to healthcare—have h …

Juneteenth National Independence Day Statement

On June 19, 2021 the United States will celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day, as an offici …

Surgical Partner Profile: Matolase Mtonga

Dr. Matolase Mtonga always knew she wanted to be a surgeon. But as a medical student in Zambia she f …

Transformations: 2020 Annual Report

The year 2020 was unlike any other. We began on a high note, celebrating our 50th anniversary as the …

Standing in Solidarity with India and Nepal

Dear Friends and Colleagues, The current situation and devastation caused by the novel coronavirus i …

Hope in Nepal: A Mother and Baby’s Journey

A child born with a cleft lip in Nepal has a tough journey ahead. Difficulty breastfeeding and chron …

Volunteer Spotlight: Dharshan Sivaraj

At ReSurge International, we have the honor and privilege to work alongside many talented partners, …

Delali Attiogbe Attipoe Brings a Wealth of Experie…

In pursuit of finding a non-profit that shared her personal passion of expanding health access to th …

Making a Powerful Impact in Peru 

Dr. Percy Rossell-Perry, a practicing reconstructive surgeon at Edgardo Rebagliati Ho …

Board Spotlight: Meredith Taylor

A ReSurge Board Member since 2015, Meredith Taylor was recently named Chair of our Board of Director …

The Higgins-Shaw Nepal Microsurgery Fund 

None of our work would be possible without the steadfast support of you, our donors — together we’re …

Our Founder – Don Laub

Our Founder, Dr. Donald Laub  In 1969, a group of volunteers from the Bay Area’s Latin Ame …

Do You See What I See? 

ReSurge is proud to announce our collaboration with Ohana One International Surgical Aid,  …

Board Spotlight: Eileen Sheldon 

  Eileen Sheldon, ReSurge Board member, recently did a spectacular job chairing our T …

Volunteer Spotlight: Deb Rusy M.D

How did you hear about ReSurge and get involved? One of the University of Wisconsin pediatric neuros …

ReSurge Board Views Impact Up Close

In May, members of ReSurge’s board of directors visited our surgical outreach partner sites in Nepal …

Interview with New Laub Fellow, Chao Long

We are proud to introduce Chao Long, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge …

Interview with Laub Fellow Dr. Anna Luan

Dr. Anna Luan recently completed the Donald R. Laub Fellowship. Named for our ReSurge founder and co …

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Fossum

When ReSurge volunteer Sue Fossum first heard about ReSurge, she was working in the PACU at UC Davis …

Dr Hien Thi Nguyen Honored at Transformations Gala

Dr. Hien Thi Nguyen knew the rural poor of her country needed the medical services ReSurge provides. …

ReSurge, COSECSA Partner to Launch Initiative in S…

ReSurge is pleased to be launching a new initiative to increase access to safe reconstructive s …

What I Learned Firsthand on the Ground in Dehradun

By Tom Seery I spent the first days of 2020 in Dehradun, India as part of a visiting educator trip w …

Fiftieth Anniversary Flashback: The 1980’s

When Dr. Mark Singleton was asked to join a surgical mission trip in 1986, he was intrigued by the t …

Kathmandu Leadership Training

Last month, we packed our bags and headed to Kathmandu for a week of leadership training for the emp …

ReSurge and ASSH Volunteers Share Their Experience…

In May of this year, a medical team of hand surgeons and hand therapists traveled with ReSurge, in p …

Introducing Anna Luan, ReSurge’s Third Laub Fellow

We are proud to introduce Anna Luan, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge …

Razia, Rohingya Refugee

Earlier this month, a ReSurge surgical mission trip visited Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, where we treat …

Helping India’s Children Heal From Burns

Meet Sheetal. At age 12, she was burned in a fire at her home where she lives with her widowed mothe …

Donor Spotlight: A Lesson in Karma

“If you do something good for others, something good will come to you.” This is how Anthony D. expla …

Cleft Palate Repair Follow Up in Vietnam

An important part of our mission is to provide reconstructive surgical care for poor children and ad …

Delivering Long-Term Impact Through Anesthesia Tra…

A well-known expert in pediatric anesthesiology, Dr. George Gregory has volunteered his skills with …

Dr. Shankar Man Rai Bio

Dr. Shankar Man Rai, a world-renowned expert at repairing clefts and burn injuries, has provided mor …

Dr. Pramila Shakya: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shakya is a maxillofacial surgeon at the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center at Kirtipur Hospital in Kat …

Dr. Celma Issufo: Pioneering Women in Reconstructi…

Dr. Issufo is the plastic surgery service director at Mozambique’s Maputo Central Hospital. She trea …

Dr. Shilu Shrestha: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shrestha is an orthopedic hand surgeon at the Hospital and Rehabilitation center for Disabled Ch …

Dr. Faith Muchemwa: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Muchemwa is a consultant plastic and reconstructive  surgeon, at Parirenyatwa Hospital at t …

Dr. Farzana Ibrahim: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

Dr Ibrahim is a senior registrar in the plastic surgery department at Birdem General Hospital (Bangl …

Dr. Lorena EScudero: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

Dr. Escudero is a plastic surgeon at Luis Vernaza Hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the largest nonpro …

Training the Next Generation of Surgeons in Cuba

At the beginning of his career, Dr. Bill McClure was on track to become a cardiovascular surgeon–th …

Life-Changing Microsurgery in Nepal

In mid-July, ReSurge sent visiting educators Dr. Gordon Lee and Dr. Matthew Chetta to train local re …

Burn Care Education in Mozambique

In late August 2016, a visiting educator team made ReSurge’s inaugural visit to Mozambique, as part …

Improving Nursing and Specialty Care in Bhutan

ReSurge’s Visiting Educator trips to Bhutan are making an impact after just over a year working in t …

Creating Lasting Impact in Zambia

A patient story as told by Dr. Goran Jovic. At first, I did not notice anything unusual about him. I …

An Empowered Survivor | Kanchana

Kanchana is a bright young nurse in Sri Lanka. She graduated eleventh out of 30,000 nursing students …

Giving a Mother Peace of Mind

When baby Christine was born in central Zambia, her mother immediately noticed that something was wr …

Reconnecting with Lilliam After More Than 10 Years

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Making Dreams Possible | Tonmoy

Tonmoy was living the life of a typical 6-year-old boy—climbing trees and running around. One day, w …

Back to School Despite His Disability | Alam

Alam lives in an apartment building in Dhaka, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. …

Regaining the Ability to Walk | Mohammed Hussein

Mohammed Hussein was just 7 years old when the accident occurred that left him on crutches. He was p …

12 Years After Cleft Lip Surgery

Ganesh is 14 years old. Despite living in a small rural village of Nepal, he dreams of becoming a do …

The Road to Hope | Priyanka

Vijay arises early, before the sun is up, and gently wakes his daughter Priyanka. She looks into his …

A Glimpse into Man Kumari’s life

Outside Bharatapur, a southern crossroads town where Nepal’s east and west meet on the nation’s main …

A bright Future | Kalus

Kalus is an 8-year-old boy from a small village between Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal, who could no …

Creatively Treating Acute Burns | Astha

Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony wh …

Freeing Sirisu’s Hand

Sirisu is a charming 4-year-old from Nepal who accidentally scalded his arm while making hot food fo …

Restoring future dreams | Rinchin

Rinchin, 13, wants to be a movie star. He is one of the patients we met recently when students from …

Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

Four-year-old Nguyen was born with three of his fingers fused on each hand, a congenital birth defec …

Helping Mother and Child | Hoa & Hoai

Hoa, a young mother, knew intimately the stigma of a cleft lip as she had been born with one herself …

A Family Renewed | Thi

The ReSurge team fell in love with 3-month-old Thi Ngol Quyen during a trip to Vietnam in April 2013 …

A Contracture Released, A Life Renewed | Quynh

Like more than 2 billion people worldwide, Quynh’s family in Vietnam does their cooking over open fi …

Mom and My | A Mother’s Hope

Sixteen-month-old My and her mother, Hat, live in Quy Nhon, on Vietnam’s eastern coast. When Hat was …

A Mother’s Dedication | Y Dim

Y Dim, now 2 years old, was born in the rural mountains of Vietnam with a cleft lip. After she was b …

A Smile 58 Years in the Making | Tam

On a surgical team trip to Quy Nhon, Vietnam, we met Tam, a man who has been waiting 58 years to hav …

Removing Stigma | Huynh

Five-year-old Huynh was born in a small village in Vietnam with a condition known as congenital hair …

The Character and Spirit of Hasan

Hasan is a daughter, a sister, a mother and at the moment, our patient. Hasan’s smile is a clear win …

An Emotional Return to India | Nisha

I’ve been looking forward to returning to Dehradun because I would finally get the opportunity to re …

The Incredible Impact | Punkaj

In early 2013, ReSurge sent a team trip to Dehradun, India, where we have a Surgical Outreach Progra …

Magali: Paying it forward

Magali’s original accident took place when she was two years old. Her mother was preparing caramelo …

Healing Hands: Joseph and Adriana

Joseph is a 7-year-old boy from El Alto, Bolivia. He was born with syndactyly, a condition in which …

Future Basketball Player | Jonathan

When you meet Jonathan, you quickly realize he has more cares than a typical 6-year-old should. He h …

Dara: The Right Start to Life

During a clinic in Nicaragua last March, we met 2-month-old Dara. Dara, like so many other children, …

Our First Patient | Antonio

In the 1960s, Antonio, a 13-year-old boy from Mexicali, Mexico, was being raised by his grandmother, …

The Real Impact of Surgery | Luis Fernando

On a trip to Ecuador in 2012, we met five-year-old Luis Fernando. Two years prior, he had been terri …

Andrea: From Patient to Nurse

Jacqueline’s 28-year-old daughter, Andrea, is her pride and joy. When Andrea was born with a bilater …

Making Connections for His Care | Sorie

As the director of international services at ReSurge International, Amy Laden is often contacted by …

Helping Oumar Be Mali’s First Reconstructive Plast…

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 12,800 people—and no reconstructive plastic surgeons. …

Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a l …

Seeking Advice on a Hyena Bite

When Dr. Goran Jovic was presented the case of a teenager attacked by a hyena, he turned to ReSurge …

A Mother’s Hope For Her Son

Mateo was one of nearly 17,000 people who receive a severe burn every year in Zambia, a country with …

Chrispine and Mwate: Crossing the Border for Hope

Determined to do the best they could for their babies, mothers Bella and Mwanga banded together for …

Jacob’s Arms are Freed

Five-year-old Jacob is bright, outgoing and likes to play football. But life for Jacob hasn’t been c …

Meet Jonas from Tanzania

Jonas is one brave little 5 year old. He lives with his family under a giant baobob tree on the plai …

A mother’s fierce hope | Basanti

ReSurge’s patients and their families are brave. They are strong. They are fighters. Some take a bus …

Hands & Father’s Hope

When Favour was 3 years old, he was at home alone with his 12-year-old cousin who was looking after …

Sheetal’s Story

Helping India’s Children Heal From Burns

India,
November 21, 2018
Meet Sheetal. At age 12, she was burned in a fire at her home where she lives with her widowed mother and two brothers. Sheetal suffered extensive burns to her back and leg. But she didn’t let her injuries stop her from going to school, where her favorite subject is math. When word spread that ReSurge was coming to Dehradun, India, Sheetal’s family was hopeful, but didn’t know how they were going to pay for the three hour trip. Ultimately, Sheetal’s teacher gave her the bus fare. After sleeping in the general ward of the hospital the first night, Sheetal was able to meet with ReSurge surgeons and get the help she and her mother were so hopeful for.
 

Sheetal is just one example of the burn victims in India. Burns are a leading cause of premature death and disability in India, and women and girls suffer burn disabilities and deaths at nearly twice the rate as other women and girls around the globe. Currently, India possesses only seven surgical specialists per 100,000 people and approximately three reconstructive plastic surgeons per 2 million people.

That’s why ReSurge is so pleased to partner with RealSelf on the launch of Beyond Scars: Healing Bodies. Restoring Lives, a new global initiative that provides burn survivors access to reconstructive surgery and medical care in India.

 
Next month, the Beyond Scars team will aid Camp Karma, the subcontinent’s first and only burn camp, in a country where there are more than 1.5 million pediatric burn survivors. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Vinita Puri, head of Plastic Surgery at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, Camp Karma focuses on transforming the lives of burn survivors like Sheetal by strengthening their ability to mentally, socially, and emotionally recover from their burn injuries and gain the tools they need to move past their scars.
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Latest Stories

Patient Stories

Stories from the Field

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Giving a Mother Peace of Mind

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Making Dreams Possible | Tonmoy

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Back to School Despite His Disability | Alam

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Regaining the Ability to Walk | Mohammed Hussein

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Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony wh …

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Restoring future dreams | Rinchin

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Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

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A Mother’s Dedication | Y Dim

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A Smile 58 Years in the Making | Tam

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The Incredible Impact | Punkaj

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Magali: Paying it forward

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Future Basketball Player | Jonathan

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The Real Impact of Surgery | Luis Fernando

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Helping Oumar Be Mali’s First Reconstructive Plast…

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 12,800 people—and no reconstructive plastic surgeons. …

Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a l …

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