Two Rambam Doctors—and One Beauty Queen—Bring Smiles to Vietnam
(Communicated by the Spokesperson's Office, Rambam Health Care Campus)
19 January 2015
Just 25 years after the international organization “Operation Smile” began operating in Vietnam, it has eradicated cleft palate and cleft lip among adults there. Two Rambam doctors, long-time participants in the project, recently returned from a marathon of operations that bring fresh hope to hundreds of children in Vietnam. Working with them were doctors from 18 countries, including Morocco and Jordan.
Two doctors from Rambam Health Care Campus, Dr Omri Amudi, from the hospital’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Dr Zach Sharony, from its Department of Plastic Surgery, have just returned from Vietnam, where they participated in an international delegation sponsored by the voluntary group, “Operation Smile.”
The delegation is a long-time tradition with the two doctors. This time, they took part with some 300 other doctors at six sites throughout Vietnam. For ten days, the delegation performed over 500 operations on children with cleft palate and lip.
“Operation Smile” has run for more than 30 years, 25 of which have included Vietnam. The organization works mainly in developing countries, where it targets impoverished populations, in which facial birth defects are widespread. In contrast to past delegations, the recent group operated only on children. To help as many patients as possible, delegation members operated 12 hours a day on a stream of young patients.
“The atmosphere among doctors was extremely convivial. Our free time was filled with conversation, jokes and mutual invitations,” says Dr Sharony, adding, “The cliché that medicine is a bridge between cultures was more apparent than ever.”
During the delegation’s stay in Vietnam they had an unexpected visit: Mee Huang, Miss Vietnam of 2011, came by to offer support. The initiative touched the beauty’s heart, and she decided to join the delegation, assisting with translations and encouraging the children and participants.