LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Released by the Good Shepherd Medical Center:
LONGVIEW, TX – Good Shepherd Medical Center, Longview Orthopaedic physician, Dr. Jordan Stanley, and Refuge International make the dreams of an 18-year-old boy come true through pro bono surgery.
Alejandro Ixim was born with bilateral club feet in a remote area of Guatemala, and never received treatment for this very curable condition. In the United States, children with this condition begin treatment at birth and most children with club feet can be 'cured' with braces, according to Deborah Bell, president of Refuge International.
Alejandro never had access to such care, and had never seen a doctor or a nurse until he was a teenager. As a young adult, having bilateral club feet is crippling. Alejandro grew up learning to walk on the sides of his feet, not the soles, and he could only walk short distances. He was also unable to do the hard physical labor that most Guatemalans grow up doing. His feet were a source of embarrassment for him, with people stopping to stare at his feet and the way he walked.
Refuge International first met Alejandro four years ago and began working on providing help for him. Because Alejandro is an orphan, he was not able to receive a Guatemalan passport, much less a medical visa for him to come to the U.S. for the surgery until he was 18 years old. Once Longview Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Jordan Stanley, who has participated in two medical missions to Guatemala, heard about Alejandro he stepped in and offered to perform the surgery on both feet at no cost. This project became a reality with the help and support of Good Shepherd Medical Center, who agreed to let Dr. Stanley perform the multiple surgeries to complete the correction. Alejandro received his medical visa in April and traveled to East Texas for the lengthy and complicated surgical process to straighten his feet. On May 28, Dr. Stanley performed the first of three surgeries and completed the final surgery yesterday.
"Remember, we are playing to an audience of only one." Dr. Ken Eveland, Vice President of Refuge International, said. Each patient Refuge International volunteers see in clinics or perform surgery on is the 'audience of one.' Refuge has sponsored three children who have traveled and stayed in East Texas to receive complicated orthopaedic care through Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. At his age, Alejandro was not eligible for services through Scottish Rite.
"Thanks to the generosity of Good Shepherd and Dr. Jordan Stanley, Alejandro will have a normal life," Bell said. "He will walk and run with straight feet. He will tell you that he has been praying for four years for this miracle to happen. We are playing to an 'audience of one,' and Alejandro is that one for now."
Refuge International is a 501c3 which has taken more than 50 medical teams to Guatemala. The organization also puts in clean water wells, works to enhance the education of children in Guatemala and leads a massive 'deworming project' called Adios Lombrices project. Refuge International volunteers also provide health care at Hiway 80 Mission alongside medical volunteers from Good Shepherd's Emergency Department.