Ten high school students from MUSE School joined us in Guatemala this week, playing several vital roles in our mission: comforting patients through recovery, participating in outreach activities, assisting with our screening clinic, documenting, and more. Their open hearts and exceptional energies allowed us to perform three more unexpected surgeries -- totaling our patient count to 101 children in just five days. This is the fourth year MUSE has joined forces with us on our ENT mission to Guatemala, continuing to make a massive difference in the lives of many underserved children and their families. Way to go, MUSE! ❤️
Earlier today, the medical and non-medical teams left for our Cardiac Mission in Tanzania. This mission is lead by Dr. Evan Zahn, pediatric interventional cardiologist from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and Dr. Salavatore Agati, cardiothoracic surgeon from Bambio Gesù Ospedale Pediatrico in Italy. In addition to the 120+ children that have received complex cardiac procedures through this mission, Dr. Zahn and Dr. Agati have been able to provide trainings to surgeons residing in Tanzania that have allowed them to perform over 100 life-saving surgeries without mission support since our last cardiac mission in 2018. As we continue to provide surgical care to children and mentorships to local surgeons this week, we are proud to announce that this is just the beginning of a self-sustaining medical center 🙌
“Our life has changed a lot since we adopted our twin 19 month old boys. They were born in China, abandoned at birth, were found at an apartment complex in the early morning hours, and taken to a local orphanage. It was discovered immediately that, one of our boys, required surgery. I got a call from our adoption agency, we were in the process of adopting our twins and they let us know there was surgery planned. This actually scared us because we had heard from several other families that adopting kids with in need of gastrointestinal (GI) surgeries had not been done right and they had made the situation worse for the kids. But they wanted to go forward with the surgery. We later found out that it was Mending Kids that came and operated on him, bringing doctors that are very knowledgeable of his special need. They’re performed a perfect surgery. Today, our son lives a very normal life. He rides horses, plays on a football team, plays on a basketball team, he’ll soon be in baseball, he does things that normal children do on a daily basis. It is extremely important that organizations like Mending Kids are doing these life changing surgeries for these children. It allows them to one day, go out into the real world one day and receive jobs and have healthy relationships. We are extremely grateful to Mending Kids for the work that they do. It not only gives these kids a better opportunity to be adopted, but to make their wait more comfortable. They’ve changed these children’s lives forever.”
We initially met Aneli three years ago at our annual Hometown Mission in Los Angeles. Aneli was born with a large, hairy nevus on her face and insurance providers were unwilling to cover the cost of Aneli’s surgery as they deemed it to be non-life threatening. Over the course of three hometown missions, Aneli received three operations. Not only are the results extraordinary, but her confidence has significantly changed.
This is the case for many children in the United States where many insurance providers consider procedures like Aneli’s to be non-like threatening and therefore will not cover the cost of their operation. Here at Mending Kids, not only do we see our patient’s physical transformations, but we see their personalities blossom because of them!
"I am 23 years old, and I have two children. Six weeks ago, I walked an hour to a nearby hospital to give birth to my son. When he was born, he could barely breathe or eat. I was sent home. I was panicking. The following day, I rode a motorcycle, with my son strapped to my back, to have him evaluated at another hospital. When my baby and I arrived, we were sent home again because there was no pediatrician available to help us. I came back a couple of days later I learned that my baby had a large tongue mass that prevented him from breastfeeding. This time, the local medical team was able to drain the mass. However, it grew back rapidly because of a lack of proper equipment in the hospital, resulting in even more feeding problems. I was sent home again. I was losing hope. My baby was suffering from malnutrition and I was terrified. We traveled over 200 kilometers (124 miles) on multiple public buses to arrive here on Monday. Thankfully, we made it. The surgeons here were able to permanently remove it. I am very happy. I almost lost hope. My son was able to have the surgery. He can comfortably breathe and breastfeed. We are now doing well."
Thank you for reaching out to us. Most of our programs were initiated by requests for help or referral of cases. We try our best to get back to you and to help as much as we can. Sometimes if there are multiple cases referred from the same region, we would try to put together a surgical team to help more people with limited resources. If it's one single case, we try to help by either fly the patient to a partner hospital, or work with a partner organization to send help.
If you have a patient/patients to refer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
Once you sent over the requested documents, please allow us 3-5 workdays to get back to you regarding whether we can help or what we can do for the next steps.
Unfortunately, we can not help with cancer, organ transplant, or patients with down syndrome, but we can send you a list of other amazing nonprofits that target these specific conditions.
As volunteer surgeon with Mending Kids for nearly 10 years, Dr. Andre Panossian is an award-winning, Harvard-trained board certified plastic surgeon with a 12-year practice in Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA. A first-generation American-Armenian whose drive for participating in and leading international medical missions has remained constant since his early residency at USC and 7-year tenure at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Panossian initiated the very first Mending Kids mission to Armenia in 2015 -- a solo, independent effort made of grace and grit. Four years later, his annual Armenia mission continues to grow, as it now offers reconstructive and/or plastic surgery to treat conditions for underserved pediatric and adult patients in or near Yerevan, Armenia every year.
Our Armenia mission continues to expand with recent inclusion of teaching, education and contribution of the latest medical instruments and resources from Dr. Panossian's team to surgeons in Armenia. Equipment donations have included everything from surgical power equipment such as drills and saws to magnification loupes for in-country surgeons. In addition, Dr. Panossian incorporates focused lectures to Yerevan’s residents and medical students on complex reconstructive problems such as facial paralysis reconstruction using his innovative reanimation technique, vascular anomalies treatment, neurofibromatosis surgery, congenital hand anomalies and pediatric plastic surgery. Each mission includes over 20 physicians from the region to attend pre-op clinics, formal lectures and bedside teaching. These occasions are rare for Armenian doctors but a welcome opportunity to learn and test fundamental reconstructive principles, so that they can continue treat the large population of children in the region. Dr. Panossian also communicates with his Armenian patients, their families and doctors throughout the year via telemedicine.
Dr. Andre Panossian specializes in rhinoplasty, facial paralysis and cosmetic & reconstructive surgery of the face, breast and body. Dr. Panossian is additionally renown for being one of the top surgeons in the United States who treats and removes tumors on patients who live with Neurofibromatosis. A surgeon who rotates his work between pediatric and adult cases, Dr. Panossian has been featured as one of LA Business Journal's "Top Doctors," was named a go-to plastic surgeon for "Rhinoplasty in Los Angeles" by Maxim Magazine and was also featured on CBS Nightly News in 2015 for his part in a groundbreaking, twin-separating surgery in Haiti. Some of his most unique facial paralysis surgeries have been featured on CBS' "The Doctors," ABC's "Good Morning America," ABC-7 and KTLA-5 News (Los Angeles) and The Los Angeles Times. Dr. Panossian is married to television and media parenting personality Jill Simonian of TheFABMom.com and dad to two daughters. Visit Dr.Panossian.com for more information and connect with Dr. P on Instagram and Facebook @drpanossian.