Kids First team returns to help children
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
For the eighth year in a row a team of 25 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and volunteers will work in San Miguel from June 11 through 15 performing orthopedic pediatric surgery on more than 70 children from across Guanajuato. Dr. Roberto Maxwell is head of the program in San Miguel de Allende. The medical teams perform this service through the auspices of Kids First, “an organization of doctors and nurses from the United States who have the aim of performing orthopedic pediatric surgery on children under 17 years old,” said Maxwell. Kids First was founded in 1999 by Dr. Billy Andrews, who visited San Miguel de Allende and learned about the CENCRE (Centro de Crecimiento). “The project in the city emerged from a conversation between Andrews, Lucha Maxwell [founder of the CENCRE], me and others. We launched the program and, since then, every year a team made up of 25 persons (three surgeons and anesthesiologists, nurses and volunteers) comes to the city to perform surgery on children from families with low incomes,” stated Maxwell.
The team of surgeons will arrive in San Miguel on June 9 the next day they will examine the children who are potential candida tes for surgery (every year more than 70 children are chosen), and from June 11 through 15, from 8am to 8pm, they will perform more than 20 surgeries per day. The program is promoted through the state DIF (Department for Family Integration), the Red Cross, the CENCRE (Center for Children with Disabilities) and the CRIT (Center for Childrens’ Rehabilitation). According to Dr. Maxwell, around 30 sanmiguelense children will benefit, around 25 from the CRIT will come from across the state, and this year another 12 children who have waited for surgery since last year will be operated on.
The volunteer team provides all the necessary material for the surgeries, including medications, materials for casts, pins, orthopedic materials, canes and even presents and candies for the children. Dr.Maxwell commented that “the workers pay their airfare and come to offer a social service during their vacations. We get the patients and make arrangements for accommodations, food and a hospital so they can operate on the children. It is a cooperative effort between the government and social organizations.”
Every year, around 600 children come to the city to be examined by the volunteer surgeons, although only 70 can be chosen. In seven years around 840 surgeries on hands, feet, toes, arms, knees, fingers and hips have been performed. Rehabilitation services are provided by the state DIF, CENCRE and the CRIT.