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

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

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

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

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

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

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Donor Spotlight: A Lesson in Karma

Donor Spotlight: A Lesson in Karma

Cub,a
August 23, 2018

“If you do something good for others, something good will come to you.”

This is how Anthony D. explained the concept of karma to his 5 year old son, Lyric, after he asked why his family was asking for donations for ReSurge International in honor of his birthday. For the past four years, the D family have celebrated Lyric’s and his younger brother Banjo’s birthdays by asking their extensive network of family and friends to donate to ReSurge in lieu of bringing gifts to the boys’ birthday celebration.

“When they were babies, they didn’t recognize that they were not getting actual gifts at their birthday party.  But now that Lyric is 5, I had to explain to him why helping others is the greatest gift you can give or receive. And ultimately, that goodness will come back to you.”

It all started a few years ago when Anthony and LuLu, Lyric and Banjo’s mom, decided to have a celebration birthday hike in the nearby mountains for Lyric and Banjo. Their birthdays are within 8 days of each other, so a joint party seemed like a great idea. Not wanting to leave anyone out, and understanding there was no space limits on the number of people they could invite to the hike, Anthony and LuLu invited a large group, including all the kids from the boys’ preschool classes, neighbors and lots of friends.

“We thought this would also be a great way to get to know our neighbors and connect with others in our community,” said Anthony. “With the number of people participating, we thought it would also be a great opportunity to identify a way to collectively give back.”

Anthony and LuLu began researching non-profits with outstanding charity ratings and discovered ReSurge International.  They were instantly moved by the mission, impressed by the ratings and loved the global outreach component.

They created a fundraiser page, which they have continued to manage for the past four years.  This year, they have added a very special addition to the page.  A new little sister for Lyric and Banjo!  D was born in August this year and her birthday falls within the same 8 day birthday window as her brothers’. This joint birthday party just got expanded to a triple celebration!

This year’s celebration hike is taking place in September and the D family would like to invite YOU to visit their page and make a donation to ReSurge in honor of the births of their beautiful children.  They also encourage others to follow suit.

“This is such a small way to make a big difference,” said Anthony. “There’s no great sacrifice. Anyone can do this.”

And don’t worry about the D children receiving birthday gifts!

“Between their parents, grandparents and close friends, they still get plenty of actual gifts on their birthdays,” said Anthony. “And total confession…the day after the karma talk, I took the boys to Target to pick out a toy for being so kind…to try and show them that sometimes the vibrations you put out into the world can influence the vibrations that come back to you.

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

Pride Is Not a Factor: Dr. Swain on Being a Resurg…

For over six years, Dr. Bharatendu Swain has been a ReSurge International Surgical Outreach Partner. …

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 …

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

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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 …

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

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

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

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

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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 …

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

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

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

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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 …

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

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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 …

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

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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 …

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

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

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

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

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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 …

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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 …

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

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

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

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

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

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Cleft Palate Repair Follow Up in Vietnam: Thi

Cleft Palate Repair Follow Up in Vietnam

Vietnam,
July 31, 2018

An important part of our mission is to provide reconstructive surgical care for poor children and adults in developing nations. But just as important as the initial surgery is the follow-up to make sure all went well.

Last summer, a ReSurge team went to Vietnam to visit scores of former patients. We wanted to make sure they were healing properly and schedule any follow-up surgeries as necessary. The team lead was Dr. Gloria Sue, the Donald R. Laub fellow and a fourth-year plastic surgery resident at Stanford University. She and Resurge Vietnam manager Hong Han Thu helped organize group visits in Quy Nhon and Quang Ngai.

On the trip, one child in particular caught our eye. Every time the ReSurge team walked around to take pictures, she’d find her way into the shot and give us a  smile. She’d tap us on our shoulders, and when we turned and caught her eye, she’d squeal and duck behind her mother. Then she’d poke her head out and smile shyly, in a simple game of hide-and-seek.

Her sweet nature was all the more remarkable given her family’s history.

Thi is a 6-year-old from a remote mountainous area in Vinh Thanh District, about three hours from Quy Nhon. Her father, a rice farmer, would spend his daily wages on alcohol, leaving the family to beg for food, her mother told us. Two of her three siblings also died in a well a few years ago.

Thi herself was born with a nickel-size hole in her palate. She couldn’t speak and she couldn’t eat, not even soft food. All she could have was milk and water.

When she was 3, ReSurge operated on her cleft. The surgery went so well that she’s been able to take solid food since then. Her speech development was delayed but she’s been working hard to catch up to her classmates.

“She’s so happy the surgery was successful,” her mother told us through an interpreter. “Otherwise I can’t imagine having to feed her baby milk for her whole life.”

To test Thi’s speech, Dr. Sue had her count to ten in Vietnamese. She did so, slowly at first and then with confidence. When she finished, she looked around proudly. The ReSurge team all laughed, and Dr. Sue decided to teach her how to count to ten in English. Thi listened closely, her brow furrowed in concentration. After Dr. Sue got to ten, Thi scampered away.

Minutes later she came back to show us how well she had learned. She counted to 10 in perfect English, holding up her fingers for emphasis. The team applauded her and gave her high-fives.

But then she surprised everyone, including her mother. She looked Dr. Sue in the eye, held up one finger and said, “Mot,” the Vietnamese word for one. Dr. Sue repeated the word. Then Thi continued in the role of teacher, with hai (two), ba (three) and so on. Dr. Sue proved to be just as good a student as Thi had been. After they both said moui (ten), they exchanged a long hug and one last high-five.

Those are the sorts of the encounters that stay with us – the little gestures that mean so much.

ReSurge is excited to go back to Vietnam very soon to help other children like Thi. 

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Vietnam,
July 31, 2018

A well-known expert in pediatric anesthesiology, Dr. George Gregory has volunteered his skills with ReSurge for the last 30 years and makes at least one surgical mission trip annually. However, it is his work in the area of tele-mentoring that taken his dedication to a new level. In recent years, Dr. Gregory has built a strong tele-mentoring practice with anesthesiologists, anesthesia techs and nurse anesthetists in the countries he’s visited, including Nicaragua, Nepal and Vietnam, delivering regular case-based training via videoconference with these local medical professionals.

Dr. Gregory is already seeing results from this new model in the areas of long-term learning retention, patient outcomes and advances in surgical protocol.

The concept began in Vietnam.  Dr. Gregory, along with Dr. Mike Beach, had regularly visited the country with ReSurge for many years. Specifically, they spent many of their surgical visits at Children’s Hospital #2 in Saigon, an enormous 1000 bed hospital that regularly houses over 1500 patients in those beds. During his visits, Dr. Gregory began to understand that he needed to figure out a way to continue education of the staff after he and Dr. Beach had returned to the US.

“What doesn’t work is giving a lecture and then leaving,” stated Dr. Gregory. “After a month, many of the hospital staff had forgotten what they learned during our visit.”

Because Dr. Gregory and Dr. Beach had established such a strong, trusting connection with this hospital due to the relationships they had formed over the years, they were able to set up a pilot ‘tele-mentoring’ program.

Each month, the hospital sends Dr. Gregory a case study of current and past patients.  Dr. Gregory analyzes the data and creates a slide presentation that includes the latest medical literature.  He then hosts a live, interactive videoconference lecture on the case.  This model was very popular with the hospital anesthesiology staff and its availability quickly expanded to include other hospitals across Vietnam.  Dr. Gregory is now offering tele-mentoring in Nepal, Nicaragua and in Swaziland with Dr. Deb Rusy as well.

And it’s working! According to Dr. Gregory, he has seen two main successes through this program. First, standards of care and surgical protocols are changing. 

“We initially found that in many countries, no one was measuring blood pressure of patients in the operating room, except for cardiology patients,” said Dr. Gregory. “Knowing your patients’ blood pressure during surgery is essential for an anesthesiologist. And it’s not just knowing the number, it’s understanding what the number means and how to appropriately react based on those data. Since this program began, we are seeing that blood pressure measurement is now regular protocol in the operating room.”

Just as important as changing surgical protocol, Dr. Gregory is also seeing a change in the way people think about the medical problems they encounter.

“We are seeing a change in their mindset,” said Dr. Gregory. “They are thinking mechanistically and physiologically about a medical situation. They want to better understand the origins of the issue and figure out a long-term solution rather than simply prescribing drugs that mask the problem.” 

Dr. Gregory would like to see this model expand into other countries and also potentially involve the addition of surgeons and other team members to discuss and educate on their surgical areas of expertise. 

“Tele-mentoring is the wave of the future,” said Dr. Gregory. “It is by far the easiest, most consistent, and least expensive way of providing health education to those in the far reaches of the world.”

In hopes of providing additional resources to anesthesiologists across the globe, Dr. Gregory, with other members of ReSurge, also wrote a textbook Anesthesia Care of Pediatric Patients in Developing Countries. This free textbooks has been downloaded over 300,000 times. 

“Textbooks we sell in America cost more than most anesthesiologists in developing countries make in an entire year,” said Dr. Gregory. “The more quality education we can offer, the better for everyone involved.”  

Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, once said “Education is about improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” Never has this statement been more appropriate and profound than in the case of Dr. Gregory.  He believes his ReSurge experience is as much about teaching as it is about healing. 

“By teaching medical professionals in developing countries, I know I’m actually doing something that makes a difference in their lives and the lives of their patients,” said Dr. Gregory.

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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

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

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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 …

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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 …

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Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

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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

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Removing Stigma | Huynh

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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 …

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Dr. Shankar Man Rai Bio

Dr. Shankar Man Rai Bio

Nepal,
July 27, 2018

Dr. Shankar Man Rai, a world-renowned expert at repairing clefts and burn injuries, has provided more than 12,000 free surgeries for impoverished children. He has also helped thousands of children in rural Nepal heal their speech impediments through the speech therapy camps he founded.

In 1999, Shankar established the first ReSurge Surgical Outreach Program. With the success of his outreach pilot program, he began meeting with ReSurge partners from other developing countries, sharing his experience and model. Now, more than 90 percent of all ReSurge surgeries are performed by developing world surgeons like Shankar. He also created the first medical residency program in Nepal’s history in the specialty of plastic reconstructive surgery, resulting in a new generation of surgeons to treat the poor of his country.

Shankar was born in rural Nepal, about 100 miles from the nearest major road, to a poor farming family. He was the first in his family to reach his level of education. Soon after his general surgery training, he observed ReSurge volunteer doctors performing a cleft lip surgery in Kathmandu and decided that he wanted to do the same. After three years of plastic surgery training in the United States, he returned to Nepal to dedicate his knowledge and skill to helping others.

In 2004, the American Medical Association honored Shankar with its Nathan R. Davis Award in International Medicine and Public Health for his devotion and skill; he was the first doctor from a developing country to receive this prize. In 2005, he received a World of Children award for his remarkable service. In April 2009, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, honored Dr. Rai with his Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award.

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