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August 12, 2016
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August 12, 2016
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Jose

Jose lives in Tijuana, Mexico and was born with a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate.  When Jose was a baby his mother took him to have his cleft lip repaired by a visiting surgical team from San Diego.  Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case with visiting surgical teams on short-term surgical trips, Jose did not receive the necessary follow-up care after his surgery because the team returned to San Diego the same day.  A week after surgery his cleft lip repair split open and he was  left  with  a  worse  deformity  that  he  started.    His  family  did  not  have  the money to pay for surgical care in Tijuana so they waited until the visiting surgical team  from  San  Diego  returned  a  couple  years later  so  they  could  show  them what  happened  and  hopefully  have  his  lip repaired  again.    Jose  underwent  a second cleft lip repair by the visiting surgical team only to have the same problem occur after surgery.  His lip did not heal and split open.  Jose was not able to attend school because of this devastating deformity.

When  Jose  was  7  years  old  he  was  evaluated  by  the  Multidisciplinary  Cleft Palate Team at the Hospital Infantil.  On May 23, 2009 Jose underwent his third attempt at a cleft lip repair by the ConnectMed surgical team.  Despite the fact that he had lived so many years with this deformity, he was very willing to share his excitement with the doctors and students that observed his surgery over a live  videoconference  in  Tijuana  and  in  a  conference  room  at  UCSD.

Jose recovered beautifully from his surgery and is followed closely the doctors and specialists in the team clinic.  His resilience and good nature is a testament to  his  courage  to  overcome  adversity.    Due  to  multiple  failed  attempts  and fragmented surgical care by visiting surgical teams without follow-up care, Jose had to wait until he was 7 years old before his lip was repaired and he could start school.  Long-term multidisciplinary treatment of children with cleft lip and palate is  critical  to  optimize  their  outcomes  so  that  they  can  lead  normal  lives.