London nurses give up holiday to help surgeons treat disfigured Ethiopians

Eleven London nurses are giving up their holidays to help perform life-changing facial surgery in Ethiopia.

They will spend a fortnight as part of a 25-strong medical team sent by charity Project Harar to operate on 50 children and adults with major disfigurements.

The nurses, who work at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital, will head to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa from next week.

Lead nurse Catherine Collins, 31, who has been on three surgical missions run by Project Harar, said: “It’s two weeks of pure adrenaline. You get very little sleep, it’s stressful, and you spend a lot of hours working. And you come back to London and everyone says, ‘How was your holiday?’”

The team, led by Professor Mark McGurk, maxillofacial surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, tackle conditions such as noma (a facial gangrene), huge tumours, animal attack injuries, burns and gunshot wounds. The surgery changes and saves lives in a country where such conditions are regarded as “acts of God” and sufferers are ostracised. Children are able to finally make friends. Adults have found jobs and got married.

Project Harar, based in Highgate, has treated more than 5,000 patients since it launched in 2001. It hopes to set a new record by treating 1,000 patients this year.@RossLydall




Source: London Evening Standard

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