Phalodi, Rajasthan, India | July 30 – August 9, 2015

September 10, 2015

About The Mission

Nearly a decade ago, MMFC established a relationship with the Kalapurnam General Hospital after meeting its director, Dr. Kanti Jain.  Since establishing a cleft lip and palate clinic, MMFC teams have returned to the hospital every year and sometimes twice in a year.  To learn more about the extraodinary efforts and life of the hospital’s director Dr. Kanti, please read the featured magazine article below from the February 4, 2007 edition of The Week that highlights her valiant dream of helping the poor and downtrodden of rural Rajasthan.

The Journey Begins, July 30, 2015

Medical teams from the East coast, West coast, Colorado, and Georgia converge in Istanbul and begin the two day journey to Delhi then onto Jodhpur, and finally, a three-hour van ride to Phalodi.

Arrival in Phalodi, August 2, 2015​

Check in with patients and meet with local medical professionals.

The waiting room when we arrived

Terri prepping the PACU

Surgery & Patient Care, Aug. 3-6, 2015​

The team awoke early Monday morning, fueled up with spice-infused masala chai, and headed over to the hospital on foot.  We were greeted with a waiting room full of children and vibrant colors.  The morning was filled with patient screenings as the doctors checked to see which children were ready for surgery.  Nurse Natalie and Doctor Gary prepped the OR while Nurse Terri got to work setting up the PACU.  A brief meeting was held to decide the week’s surgery schedule, and then the doctors and nurses were off!

The first surgery began a little after 11AM and involved a toddler who was having a cleft lip repaired.  It was followed by two more lip surgeries on a five-month old baby and a six-year old boy.  The temperatures here are hot and humid due to it being monsoon season.  The operating room started out cool in the morning thanks to a hard-working air conditioner, but the OR’s many machines and devices caused the circuits to trip and the doctors were forced to go without A/C as the day wore on.

By 5:30 the surgeries had wrapped up, and the sweat drenched docs headed to the ward to check on their patients.  Relieved moms and dads cuddled with their children and the local night-shift nurses took over care of the patients.

Waiting to be screened.

Dan screening patients.

Farhad checking out the palate of a former patient, returning for follow up surgery.

Tuesday in Phalodi, August 4, 2015

Lots of little ones in the OR today—some were there for the first time and others, like Jagdish, were returning from previous years for follow-up surgeries.  Despite the stifling heat, the recovery ward was full of content children and parents. 

An interesting practice here at the hospital is how they distinguish between male and female patients.  The title “Baby” is used to designate female pediatric patients, and the title “Master” is used to designate male pediatric patients. 

Master Chandaveer’s parents were especially grateful for his care.  While in the recovery ward, his father called me to his son’s bedside and requested that his picture be taken with a thumbs up.  The family traveled from a village over two hours away using a variety of transportation modes including auto rickshaws and busses packed with passengers.  In this sweltering heat, the journey is even more taxing. 

The patients will stay in the ward all week so the nurses and doctors can continue monitoring their recovery.  The children sleep on the hospital beds, and their parents sleep on the cool marble floor on either side of the bed—they use no mats or sheets.  The nurses report that these children are amazingly easy going and are a delight to work with!   


Baby Bhagwati rests with her mother.


The mother of Baby Kushboo enjoy the early morning cool before the heat of the day sets in.

Farwell Assembly, Aug. 7, 2015

Hospital Director, Dr. Kanti Jain holds a ceremony to honor the patients, families, doctors, nurses, and hopsital employees who made the week a success. The MMFC team returns to Jodphur.

The Team

Nurse Teri holding patient post operation

Dr. Helen, who was born in India but her nomadic soul has taken her across the globe. Dr. Helen has been on more than two dozen missions.

Dr. Gary, whos work has taken him to more than 15 countries on six continents.

Dr. Charlie was one of the founders of MMFC and has been on nearly 50 missions.

Dr. Farhad began his partnership with MMFC in his third year of residency and has been an active team member since.

Dr. Dan comes from Atlanta, Georgia where he is a cardiac anesthesiologist.

Dr. Dylan smiling with a patient pre-op.

Dr. Ravindra has been practicing anesthesiology for 19 years.

Nurse Annie, loves coming on the India Mission because of the beautiful children and families. This is her fifth mission to Phalodi.

Nurse Natalie received the volunteer of the year award at MMFC’s Boston Gala in honor of her dedication and hard work.

Surgical Tech Manohar, has helped on every MMFC mission to the hospital.

Administrator Kate, this was her first time on a MMFC mission and was a great contribution to the team.

Thank you to all the people who made this mission possible.


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