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Difficult Cases Week @GC4 – A Massive Success

The best gift in life is a second chance.

The Difficult Cases Week was organized with the aim to give a second chance to those children who could not earlier receive their cleft treatment offered by Mission Smile due to additional complications of airway, cardiac, neurological or malnutrition issues.

Inaugurated on 4th May at the Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre by Prof Atindra Adhikary, Principal, Guwahati Medical College, in the presence of Dr MC Rajbongshi, Superintendant of MMC Hospital, Col. Shivaji Samaddar, COO Mission Smile and the international team from Sweden and USA, the motto of the week-long event was ‘Let’s Give Them A Second Chance’.


The team consisting of plastic surgeon(s), anaesthesiologist(s), paediatric cardiologist, paediatric intensivist and nurses, re- screened 95 children who were earlier refused surgery and of them, provided surgeries to 61, under the guidance and supervision of the super-specialists from Sweden and the USA. One of the patients who received surgery came all the way from Bengaluru for the treatment.

Though the surgery week was planned from 8th to 11th May, it spilled over to the 12th of May as well.

The international team of physicians and nurses from Sweden was led by Dr Gunilla Loof. Runa Rafique from Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre was the co-ordinator of this camp from Mission Smile.

An educational part of the initiative was a CME on Paediatric Anaesthesia conducted by Mission Smile in partnership with the Guwahati Chapter of the Anaesthesiology Society of India. Dr Chris Cressy, Dr Annika Rydberg, Dr Peter Frykholm and Dr Bruce Banwart delivered lectures on various topics before the audience of seventy-five.

Mission Smile also conducted a Nutrition Outreach Camp on May 9 in Tezpur as part of the Difficult Cases Week in collaboration with the District Administration of Sonitpur. The Camp was inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner Shri Tapan Deka and 57 babies and children from Mission Smile’s Nutrition Programme came to the camp. Out of these, twenty were selected for surgery at the Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Centre.

International Team from Sweden and the USA – What They Said

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Prof Annika Rydberg

Even if I can do this for one child, I will think that my effort has been rewarded”, said Prof Annika Rydberg, the paediatric cardiologist from the Swedish team, who is a senior consultant and HOD of the Umea University Hospital in Sweden. She has 25 years of work experience in the field of congenital heart disease. Annika screened 24 patients who were earlier rejected due to congenital heart problems, and of these, she cleared 19 for surgery. Dr Rydberg, the children and the guardians will remain ever grateful to you for making this change possible.

Dr. Chris Cressy

The teamwork amongst the team-work is great and this is an additional attraction of this place for me“, said Dr. Chris Cressy, Sr. Consultant in Paediatric Anaesthesiology with the Umea University Hospital. On his seventh trip to Guwahati, Chris says that it makes him happy to see children here receiving the same level of care as in Sweden. Chris’s kind heart finds reflection in the smile that is always seen on his face. We thank Chris for being a living example of compassion. We look forward to your eighth visit.

Dr Bruce Banwart

I am happy here because I am utilizing my skills to give a chance to children who would otherwise have little chance in surgery”, said Dr Bruce Banwart, the Paediatric Intensivist from Kansas Mercy Hospital, USA. He has 15 years of experience as a Paediatric Intensivist and ‘Difficult Cases Week’ is his 3rd mission in India and the 2nd in GC4, where the purpose is to provide surgery to the critical cases of cleft. Dr Banwart says that he likes to be part of surgical missions because in a surgical set-up his skills are utilized to the fullest. We thank him for his complete guidance throughout the surgery week.

 Dr Peter Frykholm

Wonderful opportunity to work in such a unique institution and share difficult airway techniques and skills with colleagues here”, said Dr Peter Frykholm a member of the Swedish team who is a Paediatric Anaesthesiologist specialized in difficult airway.

Mission Smile acknowledges the international team for their wholehearted cooperation which made our Guwahati Comprehensive Cleft Care Centre blossomed into one of the most distinguished cleft centres in the world, offering free and quality comprehensive cleft care to not only patients from Assam but from the neighbouring states and countries as well.

On behalf of Mission Smile & GC4 we thank the international team members from Sweden and USA for their wholehearted cooperation in making The Difficult Cases Week a grand success!