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Plastic Surgeon Mr Chris Hill & Nurse Kellie Curran Travel To Gujrat To Help Deliver Life-Changing Surgeries

16th, Nov 2023

Plastic Surgeon Mr Chris Hill and Nurse Kellie Curran from Kingsbridge North West helped deliver life changing cleft palate surgery. Kellie said "She was shocked by the "severity and complexity" of the cases."

Kellie Curran, Theatre Nurse at Kingsbridge North West for over 10 years travelled to Gujrat with the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal.

The charity, set up 25 years ago and based in Hull, is dedicated to performing reconstructing surgeries for cleft lip and palate babies, young children and even some adults in developing countries.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Kellie said: "It is an absolutely fantastic charity. It's not until you go out and see it for yourself that you see. They hold camps [to deliver the surgeries]. It's always at the same hospital in Gujrat in Pakistan."

Kellie works with Mr Chris Hill, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who has been volunteering with the charity for around 10 years.

"I became involved in them because of Chris Hill. He is the only cleft surgeon in Northern Ireland. He works in the Royal, the hospital for sick children, and his affilitation with the charity was with another trustee Mr [Armaan] Riyaz, who works with Mr Hill.

Mr Riaz [a plastic and reconstructive surgeon] contacted Chris and then he started going about 10 years ago.

I have a wee boy who is at an age now where he understands that Mammy is going over to help the wee children.

It was brilliant. They are so appreciative and it is very refreshing. It makes you so thankful. I know here, today in society, people don't know how lucky we have it. Clefts here are picked up in the 20 week scan and most of the time there is a plan for what happens when the babies born and it's all put in place with speech and language and the multi-disciplinary teams.

Over there they don't have that. That's what I found so overwhelming. It's what it affects. There is an effect on the palate, if they are breast feeding, orthodontics is affected, and just everything is affected by it.

With cleft and missing palate so many things come into it.

They are the nicest people. So welcoming, so warm, and they are so thankful."

Kellie, who is from Co Donegal and travels to Ballykelly for her work at the private hospital, said there are older children in the area who are still in need of the surgery.

"You see more older children coming in you have been affected for years, and it could have been rectified. Depending on the severity of it there can be multiple surgeries involved. I was shocked by the severity and complexity of the cleft lip and palate cases that we operated on. I didn't realise until my visit just how important a multi-disciplinary team approach is for the care of patients."

Kellie said she and the other travelling medics have also helped train local doctors, surgeons and healthcare professionals and said the standard in Gujrat has "greatly improved over the years".

She thanked her employer for supporting her charity work overseas, and the Emirates Foundation for providing flights.

To watch a video where Mr Hill and Kellie discuss more about their experience, please click here.

Source: Belfast Live

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