Plastic surgeon fixes faces of needy overseas
Barrera, along with surgeons Dr. Ifepo Sofola and Dr. Anthony Brissett, and anesthesiologist Dr. Ju Kuo Kuang, visited Rwanda in February to perform reconstructive surgery and help train local medical personnel in the latest surgical techniques.
"It was a very enjoyable trip and very life-changing," Barrera said. "We saw extensive facial deformities the like of which would be challenging in the United States even, but with the diverse team that was put together, we were able to help the patients in Rwanda to restore their facial function."
The medical mission was organized by the Canadian Foundation for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery's Face the Future Missions. The team members donated their time and saw as many as 30 pediatric and adult patients over a period of four days and performed surgeries that lasted between five and 20 hours.
"Some of these deformities were extensive to the degree that the patients were really shunned by their society and now, with the restoration, they will be able to walk in public and be accepted by society," Barrera said.
Barrera is no stranger to medical missions. He's participated in medical missions in a number of countries, including Haiti, Peru and the Dominican Republic, and hopes to participate in a follow-up Face the Future Missions trip next year.
"We're hoping to participate in a future mission next year … and return to Rwanda and actually continue to work with some of the patients that we saw … and we actually have patients waiting for us to return next year," Barrera said.
When he's not seeing patients at Humble Surgical Hospital or San Antonio Military Medical Center, Barrera enjoys participating in triathlons and practicing taekwondo with his kids.
For more information on the Canadian Foundation for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery or Face the Future Missions, call Melanie Lovering at 416-570-4890, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facethefuturefoundation.ca.
To learn more about Humble Surgical Hospital, call 281-964-2100 or visit www.humblesurgical.com. You can also connect with the hospital on Facebook and Twitter.
ABOUT Dr. Jose Barrera
OCCUPATION: Facial plastic surgeon
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Barrera sees patients at Humble Surgical Hospital
FAST FACT: Barrera is in the U.S. Air Force; he serves as the chief for sleep and craniofacial surgery and staff facial plastic surgeon at the San Antonio Military Medical Center
Megan Mattingly-Arthur is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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