"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell"- Pinhead in Hellraiser

There are some surgical problems that are so terrible they make you cringe. In the third world, these horrors often start as simple problems that are easily solvable but progress to abominations due to ignorance, poverty or lack of local surgical skills. The result is  unimaginable suffering.

This poor girl came to NCH on the last day of a trip. She has neurofibromatosis-a "benign tumor". I asked her to return for the next trip but she never showed up. She disappeared into the abyss. I'm sure she is still in her village, covered in a shawl and hiding in her home. A terrible existence.

This poor man also has a terrible story. He has fibrous dysplasia-another "benign" tumor. Our paths have been crossing for at least 15 years but I have never operated on him. He has had numerous operations at several medical centers. After the last, he just gave up and his tumor progressed. The pinkish tissue is the roof of his mouth being forced outward and downward by the tumor. The tumor has eroded the frontal portion of his skull. Unfortunately, he also disappeared into the abyss.

People often ask me "Why do you go". The answer is "How can I not".  You don't have to be a savior or a saint to do this work. You just need the desire to use your skills to their maximum-to help people without recourse.