International Children

How HTC Is Making a Difference

  

HTC Arizona sponsors children from abroad who require extensive medical and surgical treatment for admission to the US. Once a child’s need is identified and free medical care is arranged, children are flown to Arizona, where they live with volunteer host families who care for them through their medical treatment. Once the children recover, and are healthy and strong, they return to their families in their home country.

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We have already helped children from all these countries as HTC continues helping children around the corner… and around the world.

8-year-old Ana gets new esophagus and tastes her first hamburger

Ana was just two years old when she accidentally drank a caustic liquid that was in a can outside of a cousin's house in rural Honduras. Although it was only one sip before she stopped and started screaming, that sip was enough to completely damage her esophagus. For the next six years, Ana could not eat or drink and had to be fed via a gastric tube. She could not even swallow her own saliva. 8 yr old Ana arrived in October, 2010 to prepare for an enormous surgery, that would entail using 60% of her colon to make a new esophagus. On January 3rd, 2011, Ana underwent 10 hours of surgery to give her a new esophagus. Dr. Tuan Pham, Dr. Ravindra Vegunta and Dr. Nathan Page of Cardon Children's Medical Center successfully accomplished what her parents prayed for. Ana could eat and drink like any normal child. After just five weeks, she was eating hamburgers, french fries, pizza and popcorn, the foods she had been waiting to try. Ana is due to return home to Honduras in March 2011 after weeks of swallow and speech therapy.

 

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Hussein, from Iraq, returns to the United States for surgery and prosthetics

by host mom Debra Karam

 

Hussein was hospitalized in Baghdad.  Iraqi doctors tried to do whatever they could, taking skin grafts from his leg to cover facial and eye wounds, and when that did not work, a piece of Hussein's scalp was cut and repositioned to cover open wounds on his forehead.  When his left hand became gangrenous, the only choice was to amputate it at the forearm.  Although doctors told the family there was no hope, Hussein made a miraculous life-saving recovery that left him blind and disabled.

 

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Through contacts with the American military and a Middle Eastern children's charity, Hussein was introduced to Healing the Children, Arizona Chapter.  Over the next 17 months, Hussein underwent facial reconstruction, and three eye procedures, two surgeries to the left eye including corneal transplant, lensectomy and removal of foreign bodies, and an oculoplastic surgery to the right eye, to create a pouch that would contain his new prosthetic eye.


When Hussein arrived in November 2005, he said, "The only thing I have in my heart is to see." Thanks to help from Phoenix Children's Hospital and local medical providers, Drs. Brendan Cassidy, Jung Dao, Jeffrey Epstein, J. Shepard Bryan,  Davinda Singh, Adrain Arya, Harold Magelnick, Lynne Noonan, Valley Anesthesia, and Mounib Shaaban, as well as eye and limb orthotists John Hadlock and Joseph Pongratz, Donor Network and countless others, Hussein's dream became a reality.  For the first time since his injury, Hussein was able to see traffic light changes from red to green from a distance, and then gained a wider area of vision of about 10 feet peripherally.  For the first time in his life, Hussein ate pizza, played video games, and rode a bike again.

 

Hussein recently returned to Phoenix, Arizona in October, 2010 for additional plastic surgery, eye evaluations, and prosthetic replacements.  Hussein met up with his medical providers for ongoing care, and also made new friends at Shriner's Hospital in Los Angeles, California, Healing the Children's partner in our mutual effort to take Hussein through the next steps in his recovery process.

 

 

 

 

5 year old Scarlet Melissa Undergoes Heart Repair

Scarlet Melissa, a sweet 5 year old girl from Honduras, needed a heart repair. Soon after her arrival she was operated on at St. Joseph’s Hospital by Dr. John Nigro. Melissa’s operation turned out to be a “text book procedure’. Her host family fell in love with what they called their cutie-pie. She recovered rather quickly and was able to return home in just 7 weeks after her arrival. Although Melissa’s parents in Honduras were extremely happy and grateful to see their little girl back again, her host family in Arizona was almost wishing Melissa could have stayed longer with them.

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2007-2008: Minh Tri from Vietnam Receives Medical Treatment for Dysfunctional Bowel

Brave little Minh Tri , age 10, left his father, mother and brother in Vietnam and journeyed to the United States to seek medical treatment for a dysfunctional bowel.  He was diagnosed with Hirshsprung’s disease at an early age and had already endured 12 operations in Vietnam. Unfortunately, he was left with a colostomy due to his intestines being severely damaged. During his 10 month stay in the United States, Minh Tri was cared for by Dr. Enrique Grisoni and Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa.  After his discharge, Minh Tri was recognized by Children’s Wish Network and received a “Hero of the Month” award and party at Banner Desert.   Minh Tri returned to Vietnam in August 2008.  Arrangements are underway to have one final surgery scheduled in Vietnam to reverse Minh Tri’s colostomy now that his intestines have been repaired and are well healed.  Minh Tri’s American host mother visited him and his family in Vietnam in February 2009.   Relationships developed through Healing the Children’s host families and their “temporary children” are both memorable and lasting.

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11 year old Francisco from Nicaragua Has Spine Straightened

Francisca is a bright and funny 11-year old from Nicaragua, who had a severe case of scoliosis.  After her surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital by Dr. Shindell, which gave her an amazing 60% improvement, Francisca was able to stand straighter, run faster, ride a bike longer, and not have to suffer from the headaches that were an every-day event prior to her major operation.  Best of all, she told her mother, “Mama, I don’t have to look down when I walk any more.  Now I can look up.”  Most of us take for granted not having to look down when walking, but for a grinning, Hannah Montanna skirt-wearing kid from Nicaragua, it was huge stuff!

Story submitted by Francisca’s host mom Jill

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