When one thinks about Southern California plastic surgeons, huge bills, smaller noses and thinner thighs may come to mind. Now picture this: a doctor traveling thousands of miles to treat a young boy whose mother abandoned him because of a facial deformity.
Meet Dr. Bruce Ascough of , a plastic surgeon who, for almost 30 years has journeyed to La Piedad, Mexico three times a year with Interface, a large medical volunteer team, according to a news release from the hospital. The group performs 60-80 operations in two days -- mainly cleft palates, cleft lips, and other deformities. La Piedad is a town of roughly 100,000 people, located in the northwest state of Michoacán.
On his most recent trip, Ascough operated on a boy whose father, a field worker, feed the child with an eyedropper as they traveled over 10 hours to reach the medical help.
“Here in California, we rarely see patients with cleft palates who have no way of receiving medical attention,” Ascough said in a prepared statement. “It is a huge benefit to the children in Mexico who are unable to get surgical care, and it gives us a chance to give something back.”
Cleft lips and palates are variations of a type of clefting congenital deformity caused by abnormal facial development during gestation, according to the new release. Cleft may cause problems with feeding, ear disease, speech and socialization.
Ascough has been with VHH since 1994. He received his medical education at the University of Kansas Medical Center and completed his training in Houston.