I Am Operation Smile: Stephany Martínez

From the Field

I AM OPERATION SMILE: Stephany Martínez's Story

Operation Smile Honduras Patient Coordinator Stephany Martínez

Editor’s Note: In the 20-year history of Operation Smile Honduras, our medical volunteers have delivered free cleft surgery to more than 4,500 patients. However for most of this time, all too many patients born with cleft conditions were not able to get surgery when they were babies, which is the ideal age range for the best results.

In 2014, there were about 1,000 cleft cases remaining in the country and many of those potential patients were adults, teens and children. Together with Operation Smile Honduras, we made a commitment to find them and end their needless suffering by making sure they receive the safe and effective surgery they deserve.

Supported by medical missions and the ongoing care provided at Operation Smile Honduras’ care center, a strategy was put into motion to identify and recruit potential patients, many of them among the poorest and hardest-to-reach in the country.

We’re proud to report that the effort was successful.

Now, the remaining patients in Honduras who need surgery are nearly all babies and toddlers. For the first time in the country’s history, Operation Smile has made sure that cleft surgery in Honduras is truly SET: safe, effective and timely.

On May 11, 2017, Operation Smile Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Bill Magee made the historic announcement alongside the President and First Lady of Honduras.

Though we’ve reached this historic milestone, our work is far from done.

In this series, we share the stories of how Operation Smile Honduras was able to find and provide surgery for the final patients of the country’s backlog of cleft cases.