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The Youngest Burn Victims in Guatemala Benefit from Critical AmeriCares Donation

  • February 7, 2011

The donation of a key surgical instrument (a Zimmer Dermatome) through AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program made a huge difference in the lives of three little burn victims, ages 3-7, at Roosevelt Hospital, a government-funded medical facility in Guatemala City. The Dermatomes are specialized instruments used to harvest very thin layers of skin used in skin grafts.

The equipment was requested for the hospital burn unit by a doctor with Physicians for Peace, a non-profit organization with a Burn Care Program that assists developing nations by providing burn surgery education, burn nursing education and the development of burn units like the one at Roosevelt Hospital.

Within the first month of receiving the Dermatome, the three little girls received skin grafts to treat extensive burns that covered 25-30% of their bodies, caused by hot liquids that had spilled on them. At least two of the girls received multiple skin grafts.

Dra. Lourdes Santiso reported from the hospital, “We treat many cases of deep and extensive burns, many require surgery, and skin grafts are used most often. The treatment may take months and in some cases years. Thanks again for the support provided with the valuable equipment donated.” Since the Medical Outreach Program began partnering with Zimmer in mid-2008, AmeriCares has donated 31 Dermatomes to 13 countries, including 12 units to medical facilities in Haiti this year to treat victims of the January earthquake.

AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program supplies medicines and medical supplies to U.S.-based health care professionals who travel overseas to provide volunteer medical care to people in desperate need of help. In 2010, the program provided nearly $62 million worth of critical medicines and supplies to 1,061 teams working in 71 countries, including support for charitable orthopedic surgeries in the U.S.

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