Recently, Dr. Armen Chalian returned from Armenia where he volunteered to provide anesthesia services for pediatric reconstructive surgeries. Chalian was part of a 17-member team of doctors and nurses from across the country on the 10-day medical mission sponsored by Plasticos Foundation of Orange County, California. The team taught and supervised residents, screened more than 120 children and performed nearly 50 surgeries at Arabkir Children’s Hospital in the capital city of Yerevan.
The days were long and some of the surgeries were very intense, but Dr. Chalian said he felt energized and excited to be helping those in need. Cases ranged from cleft lips and palates, to nose and ear abnormalities, and even post-trauma cases.
Chalian explained that the experience was life-changing for the patients, but equally life-changing for the doctors and nurses who performed the procedures. “We went there to help others but in reality it really helped me more just from the experience of giving,” he said.
While every procedure was memorable and touching, one in particular stood out to Dr. Chalian. Fifteen-month-old Tatevik was severely burned in a cooking accident; her hands had melted into balls of flesh. Though not all the standard medical equipment was available in Armenia, surgeons were resourceful.
The team was able to use needles, instead of surgical pins, as splints on each of Tatevik’s fingers. Following the procedure, her hands were open and the surgeons were confident she would have some movement. The transition will be nothing short of life-changing.
We’re proud of our physicians for constantly reaching out to those in need. As Dr. Chalian said, “Everyone is just so outstanding and amazing, I felt it was my turn to go and I’m glad I finally did.”