Merrillville plastic surgeon, Nicholas Retson, M.D., helps change the lives of hundreds of children in other countries by correcting cleft lips and cleft palates. With the support of the ISMA’s Medical Mission Sponsorship, Dr. Retson just completed his 36th medical mission trip in February. This time, he traveled to Jinotega, Nicaragua.
|Nicholas Retson, M.D., holds one of the many children that came to the Victoria Mota Hospital for surgery in Jinotega, Nicaragua.
Dr. Retson was joined by a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses through the Healing, Health, & Hope charity, which he founded. In Jinotega, he performed surgery on 43 children and 13 adults. It was the second highest number of cleft cases for his team.
“Here in the U.S., we have access to doctors who can fix our children’s problems, but in areas like this, they have to wait – sometimes for many years – for medical teams with the specialization necessary to help their children,” noted Dr. Retson.
He is amazed at the sacrifices parents in other countries make to give their children a normal life. Dr. Retson described parents who traveled for days, slept on cardboard and sacrificed food just to get medical care for their children.
“Each trip provides us similar stories,” he said. “Of course, this motivates us to come back each year to see who else we can help. Grant money from organizations such as the ISMA is the reason we can make these trips and change lives. Thank you for your contribution!”
How to apply
If you plan to take a medical mission trip in 2014, consider applying for the ISMA Medical Mission Sponsorship. Each November, a grant of up to $3,000 is awarded to a member committed to a mission trip.
Nominations for the 2014 award will be accepted starting Sept. 3, 2013, for trips taken after that date. A recipient will be selected by random drawing.
Applicants must obtain the endorsement of their county medical society. Then, submit a letter to the ISMA or email Adele Lash and include:
- Your name, address, email and phone number(s)
- Dates and location of proposed trip
- Information about other sponsors and/or mission coordinators
- Appropriate documentation, including expense details
Find information on the ISMA Medical Missions page.