Many patients, even babies, arrive at the Mercy Ship carrying a life-sentence because of a benign tumour. A small growth left untreated simply expands – inward and outward. Eventually the sufferer will likely be outcast because of superstition surrounding their condition, or will die from slow suffocation and starvation.The free surgery is often complex and requires extended recuperation. The self-esteem of these patients who have often been ridiculed is gently nurtured during their recovery on board.
Children born with cleft lip or palate in the developing world have little chance of having corrective surgery.The incomplete lip and palate prevent the newborns from successfully breast feeding, and malnutrition usually sets in. Those who survive are often rejected by their communities from their earliest memories. Thousands of smiles have been restored by Mercy Ships’ surgical teams.