Local surgeons create smiles across the world
For the thousands of children born overseas with a cleft lip and palate, too poor to have the defect repaired, life is full of shame and isolation. Many are thrown out on the streets. Thousands wind up in orphanages.
A local husband and wife plastic surgeon team is bringing smiles to the faces of hundreds of children around the world by performing cleft lip and palate surgeries for free as a part of medical missions at their own expense. The most recent trek for doctors Simeon and Holly Casey Wall was Xi’an. Simeon says, “We were over there for almost three weeks and did about 65 surgeries, all infants, cleft lips and cleft palates. About 90 percent of them were orphans.” Many of the patients traveled more than 30 hours by train for the surgeries. It was heartbreaking for Holly to have to turn some away because of infections. “Oh, and especially after they’d been on the trains for 36 hours. It’s enough to make you sick.”
This was the first medical trip for the Walls together. They say it won’t be the last, though. They see how these trips are about more than surgeries. Simeon mentions the change for a child in the Chinese culture. “If they were sent out from their family or ostracized from society, they can now be brought back in and get married and have a normal life. So, it’s a huge change. It’s really everything for these kids.”