Guang Yuan, China
This year Dr. Hobbs went to Guang Yuan, North West China to do cleft lip and palate surgery near the area that was devastated by the earthquake in May 2008. In order to reach this remote part of China it took almost 2 days of travel from the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport. The 35 member team including 3 plastic surgeons worked hard and managed to complete 126 surgeries in their 10 days of work. This teamwork resulted in smiles for many children and parents! The translators did a great job ensuring communication between the doctors/nurses and the patients and their families.
There were a few special stories that emerged. The first is about a 4 year old girl who lived in a mountain area 93 miles from where the team was working. The Grandfather determined to help his grand-daughter carried her 4 hours through mud and rain to the next city. They eventually found a bus for a two hour ride to Guang Yuan where they boarded another bus that would take them to the hospital ending their nine hour journey. The team was able to perform her surgery successfully. Another child that came with her parents had to travel six hours to reach the hospital but the one that came the farthest had to travel 3.5 days. This last patient, a 14 year old, traveled by car with a monk from the orphanage where he lived. His parents had been killed in an earthquake April 2010(the month before) but having cleft lip surgery gave him hope for a brighter future.
Dr. Hobbs and the team were interviewed on Chinese TV for a documentary concerning the cleft trips. The documentary included the small homemade quilts that were given to each of the children as a special gift.