SAN FERNANDO CITY (PIA) – The Lorma Medical Center (LMC) located in this city now provides free cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries to indigent patients from La Union and nearby areas.
On Friday, LMC and Smile Train Philippines launched their partnership in a simple ceremony, making the hospital the first in Ilocos Region to partner with the largest cleft-focused non-profit organization.
Smile Train is an international children's charity that supports 100 percent-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care for children globally.
“Our objective with Smile Train is to restore all these physical deformities to as near normal as possible and in doing so, alleviate the lifetime physical, emotional, and psychological impact of these congenial deformities and allow them to live a normal life,” Bautista said.
The first patient to avail of the cleft surgery at no cost is Mac Laren Lodia, a two-year-old boy from Sudipen town.
His mother, Jessie, was teary-eyed as she expressed her gratitude to all those behind the program.
“Kami ay lubhang napakasaya nang nalaman naming may libreng surgery sa mga kagaya ng aking anak. Nagkaroon kami ng bagong pag-asa lalo sa aming mahihirap,” she said.
She added, “Dahil sa programang ito, magkakaroon na rin ng napakatamis na ngiti ang aking anak na pangarap ng bawat magulang na makita.”
Clefts are a common birth defect, which if left untreated, could lead to children’s isolation and difficulties in eating, breathing, and speaking, and risk of severe malnutrition.
Hospital president and administrator Robert Kaiser; lead plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Michael Versoza of LMC; Tagudin, Ilocos Sur Mayor Roque Versoza; La Union 1st District Board Member Gerard Ostrea; members of the media; and hospital staff were present during the program's launching.