Operation Restore Hope – Cebu 2013 Slideshow

We’re resting right now after returning from our trip to Cebu which resulted in 87 surgeries- and we’ll be bringing you some of their stories.

But first!

Here’s a slideshow (by Peri Paleracio) featuring many of the people we met on the trip and the work we were able to accomplish together.

Operation Restore Hope 2013 – Cebu, Philippines from Senders Wines on Vimeo.


Screening the Patients

Our first full day began with a 15-minute 8:00am taxi ride to the Miller Seventh day Adventist Hospital.

According to Josh, there are 150 patients to screen. A maximum of 100 surgeries can be performed, so some will be some turned away because of either age (too young) or an unhealthy weight. Like the obesity problem we have in the US, malnutrition is very common– especially in children with cleft lip and palate due to the complications the condition can have (it is very difficult to eat and drink).  Additionally, a child cannot go into surgery if a in poor health (has a fever, hemophilia, etc).

screeningThe open air, non air conditioned gymnasium that served as the screening room also served as the pre op, postop, cafeteria, bedroom, bathroom, movie theatre, nursing station, and play room.  The gymnasium, located on the 5th floor, only 3 stories above the operating room, is only accessed by ramps and was extremely crowded. There were 129 children that actually made it to the screening process along with mom & dad, siblings, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins– the list goes on. But as crowded as it was, all of them had the biggest smiles and showed such incredible friendliness and gratitude.

The bustle bothered no one.

Screening starts with a previous prepared list gathered by the rotary. Children then met with college students volunteering their time to assist with screening– checking spelling of names, taking the weight of patients, pictures, and assigning numbers. Sometimes they had to figure out age of the patient, the birthplace, or parents’ names. Even with the triple checks, we still had to rely on a lot of guesswork.


Because we’re at a 7th day Adventist hospital, there are many restrictions: no
caffeine, no meat, no alcohol, etc. Provided here is rice, some kind of tofu and rice drink, some other kind of bread and nuts. Although the box says apples, I have yet to see any kind of fruit or vegetable offered to the patients.

The whole process proved to be extremely tiring and often times confusing. It was hard to imagine that there was still more work to be done.

~ Karen Senders

Operation Restore Hope Begins!

operation announce
We arrived at 4:00am into Manila, but you would never guess that it’s four in the morning– the airport is bustling!  Filippinos do not sleep but we soon learn that we do not get much while we are here either:  pre-op coordination, surgery, and post-op have multiple dimensions; there is so much need here– who has time to sleep?

After exiting the airport terminal, we met Joshua P. Hatcher, a native Filipino, Korean war vet, and US expatriate. He left Half Moon Bay, CA seven years ago to work with the local rotary in Ceba, Rotary Club Metro Cebu. They publicize the free cleft repairs throughout the countryside and raise money to sponsor children who cannot afford to make the trip or pay for lodging and food. Local rotary are instrumental in organizing surgical outreaches for the children with cleft lip and palate. It can be safely said that, without the support of local rotary, these trips would not be successful.

We climb into a car with Joshua and for 30 minute drive through stop and go traffic in diesel thick air. Everywhere we look there are people cooking and selling food on the side of the road with open fire grills and boiling pots. Cats, dogs, and roosters roam the streets. The scene is quite a departure from the boutique shops and small restaurants in our home town; we’re definitely not in California anymore.

We finally check into the hotel– or rather, the hotel, spa, disco, casino, roller coaster, arcade, climbing wall, and multi restaurant facility. Everyone speaks English which surprised me; I was expecting to have to learn a little tagalog here and there but it turned out to be almost too easy.

Soon after checking in, we met with the entire medical group at the hotel’s American-fifties-styled restaurant. As we met everyone we discovered that many of the surgeons are from the US, mostly California and Utah, and the anesthesiologists are from Australia as well as the group of nurses. It is always so inspiring to meet such a diverse group of people coming from all over to do this kind of work.

After the meeting, we were allowed a quick breather before screening day…

~ Karen Senders


Operation Restore Hope Australia is a not-for-profit, non-governmental, non-sectarian charity that surgically repairs cleft lips and palates for underpriviliged children in the Philippines. The charity was conceived by renowned Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Darryl Hodgkinson in 1992.

Our missions typically last one week. Throughout the week we constantly teach and develop the skills of the local medical staff who work alongside us. Much of the operating room equipment we use during our time in the Philippines is brought with us from home and/or donated…

Read more at Operation Restore Hope Australia.

Trip Highlights


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Sister of patient

We operated on 70 patients over 5 days. Wednesday was the longest day when we did 20 surgeries. It took a team of 25 people and worked with more than a dozen Rotarians. We need many support people for each surgery. These include the Anesthesiologist, OR nurses, Recovery Nurses, Instrument cleaners, Dentists and a Pediatrician.

Local Nurses assist our team

Local nurses who have received their nursing degree assist our team and receive work experience.

Georgia, Mel and Jacqui

Two years ago my daughter Julia and Georgia led the instrument cleaning team. Now the team is three. All are in college. Georgia is now in her third year with the team. Parker, my 17 year old senior son, was supposed to join the team until he broke is leg 4 weeks ago. I think he missed out!

The anesthesiologists were all from Australia. The three nurses in the foreground were from the Philippines. The surgical team, Drs Maguina and Kamal are at the head of the table.

20 of us road in a Jitney. This is a traditional small bus popular in the Philippines.

Unusual Clefts


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Ramil has a lateral facial cleft

Ramil is 12 years old and lives with his parents and 7 siblings. His father is a carpenter and his mother a housewife. He has a lateral facial cleft which makes his mouth very large on one side. Because the muscles are disrupted he drools from that side.

The mouth is asymmetrical

As is common with this condition he has unusual ears.

The facial cleft and ears were repaired by Drs Maguina and Dyleski

















Ramil now has a symmetrical mouth and his ears appear more normal. When he heals he will be back to he normal happy self.

Second OR Day

Volunteer Clowns Distract the Children

A Volunteer group of clowns keep the children distracted from what awaits.

Prior to surgery children receive dental care

A unique feature about this trip is the dental care. All children are screened prior to surgery. Most need many extractions. Lothar, a volunteer dentist from Australia, and Sally, a local dentist who Lothar has trained, extract the teeth while the children are asleep. This adds 5-15 minutes per case, but greatly helps the children.

A long awaited surgery for this young man

The Pediatric Ward


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How can anyone can sleep?

The ward is made up of 24 cots. One cot per patient and family. Sometimes the patients  must double up and have two per cot. Where do the parents sleep you must be thinking. As we all know, life as a parent can at times be difficult.  We can all remember the night when our child had an ear infection and know one got any sleep. This brings a new meaning to not getting any sleep.

Rounds are a little different than in the US

Each morning and evening we make rounds on the patients. As needed we come during the day. One of the members of the team, Joy Zane, is a pediatrician who cares for the patients along with the Filipino nurses. Fortunately, the patients are strong and seem to complain less than their US counterparts.

Brother and Sister

It looks a little like camp

I am sure these two patients will be happy to only spend one night