In 2010, Haiti was struck by a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake that directly affected over 3 million people, taking over 150,000 lives, while leaving thousands of others either homeless or with debilitating injuries. Dr. Ramin Behmand, along with a team of 25 other physicians, nurses, EMTs, and various other professionals, traveled to Haiti in the immediate first few days after the devastating earthquake to render desperately needed frontline medical support to the most affected areas. The team arrived in Haiti with 20,000 pounds of medical supplies, much of it donated by Bay Area medical facilities such as John Muir Medical center. This team was assembled to provide immediate multi-specialty medical and surgical assistance to thousands of Haitians, and was the first mobile medical team to provide medical assistance at the epicenter of the earthquake. Dr. Behmand says the “extreme magnitude of so many thousands of lives lost is shocking, [as well as] the desperation for medical care in the early days after the earthquake. [It was] a truly humbling experience. I was grateful to have been able to be there, and in a small way, make a difference in people’s lives.” The team provided immediate medical care in makeshift surgical tents to some 800 injured patients.
Ethiopia, Operation Smile
Operation smile is an international charity that provides reconstructive surgery and other medical care for children from around the world who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial and hand deformities.
Many children around the world are affected by visible congenital deformities and often are shunned by members of their own communities and are unable to do normal daily activities like smiling, eating, and speaking.
Dr. Behmand traveled to Ethiopia with Operation Smile in 2008 and provided surgical care to many affected children, who otherwise would not have access to surgical treatments. The surgical team was fully self-sufficient, having brought all necessary equipment and personnel, so that the operations could be performed in remote areas where they were needed most. Even so, some patients and their families had endured days-long trips by foot, car, or horseback to reach the surgical facilities, which had been set up by the team.
Batangas City, Philippines
Philippine Medical Society of Northern California
As part of a multi-specialty group of volunteer surgeons, in the year 2005, Dr. Behmand Travelled to the city of Batangas in the Philippines, where he provided surgical care for under-served children with congenital deformities. The trip was organized by the Philippine Medical Society of Northern California, with the goal of providing definitive care for children who had been unable to receive the necessary reconstructive operation in their area.
Cartagena, Colombia “Healing The Children”
Healing the Children is a charitable organization that coordinates trips all over the world, providing medical care, surgery, and medical supplies to children in need who may otherwise never have the opportunity to be treated. This program runs solely with the assistance of donations and volunteers. Dr. Behmand traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, with “Healing the Children” in year 2000, to provide reconstructive surgical services to children with congenital deformities. The main focus of this mission was to help children with cleft lips and palates, facial deformities, burn scars, and foot/hand deformities. On the first two days of the mission, hundreds of patients and their families were seen in the clinic to be evaluated for surgery. The initial triage days were followed by six intense surgical days, each day starting in the dark of morning, with a tightly filled schedule. The goal was to safely treat as many children as possible on every surgical day. Dr. Behmand has said, “Each night we left the surgical facility well past midnight, through lines of patients with their families, still waiting, hoping they would eventually have their much needed surgery. There was a feeling among the medical staff that every hour counted.”