Baptist Children’s Hospital gives kids the gift of smiles

Doctors from various specialties — along with nurses, technologists and other staff — provided their time and expertise to perform the procedures for children whose families are unable to pay for these types of treatments.

Before the sun was up, the hospital was alive with excitement and anticipation as the young patients and their families arrived. By morning’s end, doctors had repaired cleft lips and palates, performed nose and scar revisions and reconstructed ears.

“It only takes a little bit of our time, but it impacts these children and their families for a lifetime,” said Joel Levin, MD, chief of plastic surgery at Baptist Hospital. “It’s instant gratification for us.”

In addition to Dr. Levin, other doctors who donated their services were Andres Bustillo-Lopez, MD; Guilherme Dabus, MD; Johnny Franco, MD; Felix Freshwater, MD; Rafael Gottenger, MD; Joshua Lampert, MD; Fred Pedroletti, DMD; Jose Rodriguez-Feliz, MD; Jhonny Salomon, MD; George Varkarakis, MD; Jill Waibel, MD; Thomas Zaydon, MD; Piotr Krasuski, MD; Luis De La Cruz, MD, and Daniel Zaitman, MD. More than 30 other healthcare providers also participated.

This is the 14th year the hospital has donated its facilities and performed free operations for children in need.

“It is our mission to provide exceptional, compassionate care for children and families in our community,” said Randall Lee, chief operating officer of Baptist Children’s Hospital. “These surgeries help make such a difference to these children, and bring tremendous satisfaction to everyone involved. We are proud to provide this special day.”

To be eligible for Day of Smiles, patients must residents of Miami-Dade, Broward or Monroe counties, age 18 years or younger and meet certain surgical and financial guidelines. For more information about financial guidelines for Day of Smiles 2016, call Pastoral Care at 786- 596-6577.

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