Genital reconstruction surgery for children preparing for 11th mission

16:06 | 25/06/2017 Society

(VEN) - On June 23rd 2017 in Viet Duc Hospital, Thien Nhan & Friends program co-operated with the Department of Pediatrics conducted a Urological and Genital Reconstruction Workshop.

Pediatric general experts from Italy were invited to share with Vietnamese surgeons on congenital and aquired genital anomalies and gender reassignment surgery. This is the fourth Thien Nhan & Friends organized surgical workshop.

Urological and Genital Reconstruction Workshop

Italian surgeons presented genital reconstruction for male and female victims while Vietnamese experts discussed gender identity disorder and experience on hypospadias surgeries. After the workshop, Vietnamese surgeons were able to join surgeries for 30 patients from June 26th to June 30th at Department of Pediatrics, Viet Duc Hospital, Hanoi.

The project was inspired by “Miracle Baby” Thien Nhan, an infant discarded at birth and left to die in a jungle. He suffered total loss of genitals and loss of one leg from a brutal mauling by wild animals. He has since been adopted and lives happily with his new family in Hanoi, Vietnam, and is the official Goodwill Ambassador to help others. The volunteer organization has since carried out 220 surgeries for other similarly affected boys and girls. Thien Nhan & Friends organizes genital reconstruction surgeries for poor Vietnamese children suffering from severe genital birth defects or loss of genitals from trauma, in addition to providing family financial support and travel costs.

After news spread of Thien Nhan’s successful surgery, poor families from throughout Vietnam came forward with their own tragic situations. Genital problems are not typically discussed in Asian society, but Thien Nhan’s story changed this. This was the catalyst for Greig Craft, Tran Mai Anh, Hoang Na Huong, and Roberto De Castro’s to establish the program.

In addition to free reconstructive surgeries for damaged or missing genitals, the team carries out other critical procedures including cloacal exstrophy, bladder exstrophy, rudimentary micro penis, PAIs and traumatic iatrogenic penile amputation. Along with adopted mother Tran Mai Anh, godparents Greig Craft and Hoang Na Huong, and Roberto De Castro of Italy, the small group uses a team of reknown surgeons comprised of Dr. Emilio Merlini, Dr. Vicenzo Domenichelli from Italy, and Dr. Anthony Caldamone and Dr. Dinh Tue from the US. Dr. Roberto DeCastro has enjoyed a highly acclaimed 40 year career. He was formerly Director of Pediatric surgery at Maggiore Hospital, Bologna, Italy, and former Head of Pediatric Urology at the King Faisal Hospital, Saudi Arabia. He is currently Director of Pediatric Surgery & Urology at Petrucciani Hospital, Lecce, Italy, in addition to his 20 years of humanitarian missions to help poor children around the world.

The group plans to train Vietnamese pediatric surgeons in Italy starting this year. At the recent ESPU (European Society for Pediatric Urology) international conference in Spain, Dr. Roberto De Castro presented a keynote paper on his innovations in phallopasty technical surgical procedures, including Vietnam.

Doctors and patients after successful surgery in Danang

The June mission will begin in Hanoi at Viet Duc Hospital where 30 children will be operated on and one medical conference on urological and genital reconstruction. From there, the team will move to Danang for 10 operations at Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children and finish with seven complex procedures at Children Hospital 2 in Ho Chi Minh City. Many complicated surgeries can last 10-12 hours.

The program is carried out under the AIP Foundation and financial support is provided almost exclusively by Vietnamese citizens.

MD Nguyen Viet Hoa, Head of Department of Pediatrics, Viet Duc Hospital said: “We are eager to take part in this workshop since it is a precious and priceless chance to learn from international leading experts as well as show them our daily cases”.

“It is necessary to conduct these kinds of workshops as we can provide local doctors with experience and modern technique so that they are able to make operations by their own” - said Dr Roberto De Castro.

Mrs Tran Mai Anh, co-founder of Thien Nhan & Friends, proudly said: “We want to organize more various workshops like that in order to connect and exchange experiences between international experts and Vietnamese surgeons. In foreseeable future, we intend to send Vietnamese doctors to leading hospitals in the world to study”.

Mr Greig Craft, Founder of the program shared his opinion: “Medical technology exchanging is needed and required because the number of patients is on the rise. I hope that Vietnam is going to become a center of training and genital reconstruction surgery before long”.

Nha Ky