Mother Names Child After Operation International Doctor Thanks to Life-Changing Surgery

May 12, 2023

Team Chicago’s short but impactful time in Ghana has left more than 100 patients with a new lease on life—and at least one young patient with a new name.

The mother of one of several children who received a successful cleft lip/palate repair during the medical mission decided to show her gratitude by baptizing the baby after Dr. Fernando Almas, Team Chicago’s facial reconstructive surgeon.

“For making me and my son very happy [and] putting a new smile on our face…Words can’t express how happy I am deep within my heart,” the mom wrote in a Facebook message to the team. “I will call him Fernando Manuel Armah.”

Occurring in one out of every 700 births worldwide, a cleft lip or palate can put children at greater risk for malnutrition, poor health, and poverty. Plus, the stigma associated with the birth defect in countries like Ghana has been shown to cause psychological and emotional distress for mothers.

Despite the ability to repair the birth defect, travel costs and other barriers make it so many people in low-and middle-income countries do not get the surgery until later in life if at all.

The surgery on young Fernando Manuel Armah is one of more than 10 cleft lip/palate repairs Team Chicago completed during their time in the country. Each of the children have a chance at a healthier future thanks to the surgeries.

One of Many

The new name is just one glimpse at the impact Team Chicago made during their six-day trip to the West African country.

In total, the 15 medical professionals–many of whom have traveled with Team Chicago on previous missions–completed 160 surgeries and 219 procedures throughout the week. The operations also included groin and umbilical hernias, hand deformities, tonsil surgeries and tumor removals.

The numbers surpassed the team’s first visit to the country last year, during which they performed 112 surgeries. The 2023 trip is Team Chicago’s third medical mission overall since launching in 2019.

With your support, the team will continue to change lives.

“We hope to continue to make the world a better place one person and one surgery at a time,” Team Chicago wrote after the mission. “A huge thank you to everyone who supported our mission and Operation International. We couldn’t have done it without your donations and support.”