„Do not live for yourself! Just go, and do good!” – said Pope Francis. Or as Prophet Muhammad declared: „Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.”
We had not known these sayings, but we went again. The mission to Bangladesh in April 2015 was shorter and easier than before, but we operated all day. The mission was, of course, important. However, its importance was not primarily manifested in the number of surgically treated patients, which was higher than in than during the previous missions, but in the cooperation between Hungarian, German and Bangladeshi doctors, which was set up and it worked for the patients and the „Message”.
Burn injuries can cause lifelong physical and mental disability for the victims, their family, and their environment. In Bangladesh, it is very difficult to receive the same care as in Europe. We managed to call the attention of the media and the politicians to the importance of prevention, plastic surgical help, and improvement of the quality of the patients’ life.
More attention, more organized work, and more money are essential for these plastic surgery departments where burn injuries are treated. The current situation is really devastating even for those who are not working in this profession: we have seen thought-provoking examples of this devastation.
With our plastic surgery mission, we managed to do a touch of good, even if it is really just a drop in the ocean in Bangladesh, which is affected by disasters almost every day with its 165 million inhabitants who are trying to live (and get by) in peace. Because they deserve it. We promised again that we are going to continue…
Dear Friends and Supporters,
We took the road to Bangladesh for the fourth time in April 2015 with five of my medical doctor colleagues to continue our mission to Bangladesh which began five years ago. Once again, our team conducted more than 100 reconstructive surgery within two weeks in one of the poorest Asian countries.
Interplast Hungary is the first Hungarian-founded and funded plastic surgery mission, established by the Action for Defenceless People Foundation. We began our work five years ago. At our request once again joined the four-person team of Interplast Germany, so we could perform surgery in two operating theaters continuously.
Bangladesh has only 46 plastic surgeons, which is a very limited number compared to its large population. Because of the social environment, human relationships, and everyday lifestyle, there are many burn victims and developmental disorders. Injuries are not treated in a professional and timely manner, so there are many people living with congenital problems or loss of function in limbs. For example, many injured young girl’s breasts can not develop properly due to the pulling of the burnt skin. Surgical intervention helps to ease their pain and improves their chance to get married after a successful breast reconstruction.
Our two-week mission took place in the world’s largest Plastic Surgery and Burns Care Ward in the Dhaka Medical College, which accommodated more than 600 patients during our stay. The shocking sight and the importance of our work (a drop in the ocean, but an essential one) can be described best with the following story. We were visited by the German ambassador of Bangladesh, who was familiar with the difficult conditions in Asia. At the end of his visit, he was invited to give a speech in the hospital. He stood and suddenly started to sob to our and his own astonishment.
I hope that we have 44 people up again from the depths of despair to dignified living conditions. We performed surgery with local colleagues together from early morning to late at night. We left the hospital before dusk only once. We also found time to train Bangladeshi doctors: I gave two lectures about fat transfer (lipofilling) techniques and developmental disorders. We performed more than 100 surgery on 44 patients, including 3 graftings (which means moving tissue from one site to another on the body).
After the years of our educational and organizing work, not just a few hundred but hopefully, thousands of patients can feel the care and the healing. Towards this, Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh visited us to ask our help to build a larger burns care center in the future.
Major surgeries performed during the mission:
– Reconstructive plastic surgery after burning, accidents, or tropical diseases.
– Skin and tissue replacement on limbs or torso.
– Hand surgery for children with developmental disorders.
– Cleft lip surgery on children.
– Tumor removal with immediate reconstruction.
We also treated six burned patients who had been injured in the last weeks’ terrorist attacks. in the course of our work, 13 women, 18 children, and 13 men were treated.
Members of the team were very happy to help again in a successful mission, giving a chance to a better quality of life for many adults and children who live in a place where this would be impossible. My Hungarian colleagues who were with me: dr. Éva Varga anesthetist and Dr. Peter Vancsó orthopaedist, hand and plastic surgeon.
We managed to call the attention of the media and politicians to the importance of prevention and professional treatment of burns, and the fact that the victims’ quality of life can be improved by surgery. It is essential to these plastic surgery and burns care units to get more money and attention. We managed to do a touch of good with organizing this plastic surgery mission, even if it is really just a drop in the ocean in a country which is affected by natural disasters almost every day with its 165 million people.
We kindly accept your donations to assist with the mission:
Cselekvés a Kiszolgáltatottakért Alapítvány
(Action For Defenceless People Foundation)
IBAN: HU25 6290 0184 1680 9499 0000 0000
Thank you for your support!
Dr. Greg Pataki
Founder, Plastic Surgeon