10th year of Kids First in San Miguel
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
More than 100 children with orthopedic problems will have access to free surgery, thanks to the program Kids First, promoted in the city by Dr. Roberto Maxwell.
This year the team will perform surgeries on hands, feet, toes, arms, knees, fingers and hips. The team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and volunteers of Kids First, all of them from the US, will arrive in San Miguel on May 16 and start working the next day. On May 17 they will screen the children to select those who are candidates for surgery, and from May 19–22 they will perform 20 pediatric orthopedic surgeries daily in the General Hospital from 8am–8pm.
The team comes during their vacation time to volunteer in San Miguel. They pay their airfares, and the local and state governments, along with some nonprofit organizations, provide lodging and food. 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.
Those children in need of orthopedic surgery should be enrolled for a check-up at the municipal DIF, located at the corner of San Antonio Abad and Insurgentes. It is open Monday through Friday from 8am–3pm. Parents must bring two copies of the child’s CURP, medical history, birth certificate and Seguro Popular enrollment—this last is not mandatory.
Kids First is a group of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and volunteers who specialize in orthopedic surgery. The team started working 20 years ago in countries such as Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Brazil with the group Healing the Children. Five years later, Dr. Billy Andrews and Dr. Gregory Menzio decided to form their own nonprofit organization, which became Kids First. Andrews, who heads the group of volunteers, previously told Atención, “We had accumulated most of our own surgical equipment and we had a team that works together very well. We did not want to have someone else tell us where to go, when to go or what to do. We wanted to form our own group that was more able to take care of children at no cost. We have no paid employees; all the money that we raise goes directly to take care of the children.”