Patient spotlight: Madeleine

Our patient, Madeleine Moorhead, is a volunteer with a Medical Mission Faith in Practice. Mrs. Moorhead asked if we could donate toothbrushes which we were happy to, but the real story or stories is found in the hearts of the volunteers who donated their time, skill, love and compassion for all these patients that would likely never have had the opportunity if for not the devoted Medical Mission Faith in Practice Team.
“I’m Pretty Now”
Aracely, a 16 year old Guatemalan girl who was born without an ear, was met by a Faith in Practice village team outside of Antigua last year. They told her that a surgeon from the U.S., who specialized in ear reconstruction, was coming to the hospital in Antigua. She told her family that she wanted to go and have a new ear made. In Guatemala, many people think that you go to the hospital to die. Her parents did not approve of her going to Antigua. Aracely, however, was determined to go and meet the doctor that was going to “change” her life.
She set out on her journey to the Obras, the hospital staffed by Faith in Practice volunteers. She traveled through some of the most dangerous parts of Guatemala alone. She walked, hitchhiked, and rode several buses. She arrived at the Obras and was seen by plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Boutros in 2010. The staff at the Obras said it was a miracle that she made it to Antigua without getting killed or kidnapped. He performed the first of two surgeries to make an ear. While touring Casa de Fe, the facility Faith in Practice built for the recovering patients to stay, we saw the young woman. She approached Dr. Boutros and told him how thankful she was for the surgery. She had always been told she was ugly and had always felt ugly but now, she said, “I am pretty.”
Madeleine Moorhead, who is about her age and serving as a translator, was touched by her bravery and resolve. “She really stood up for herself and did what she needed to do to help herself.” Aracely’s father accompanied her today in the clinic and had a smile a mile wide. She will have the 2nd part of her ear surgery on Wednesday.
“Two Ears”
We arrived at the Casa de Fe and jumped off the bus. Looking around, we saw all the people waiting to see our group in the clinic. A young mother and her son, Richard, were waiting close to the front door. Richard was born with bilateral microtia, meaning almost complete absence of the ears. Dr. Boutros constructed one of his ears last year by carving it out of cartilage from his ribs. His mother was so thankful for the surgery that when Dr. Boutros arrived at the Casa, she approached him and presented him with a bag that she had hand-woven with his name on it. Richard approached him and was softly crying tears of joy. He had his second surgery today and he now has two beautiful ears.
Check out more photos on Dr. Hablinski’s Facebook page!