African teen receives life-changing facial surgery at AAMC

African teen receives life-changing facial surgery at AAMC

Stories like this just make you proud to be an AAMC nurse.

Filmon Haile is a 19 year-old from Eritrea, Africa. As a toddler, he received radiation treatment that caused him to have major facial deformities. Many years later, AAMC maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Edward Zebovitz met Filmon while in Eritrea on a mission trip. Dr. Zebowitz is the founder of the non-profit organization Surgeons for Smiles, which provides free medical and dental care to those in need in developing countries around the world. Moved by his case, Dr. Zebovitz began the work to arrange for Filmon to come to the United States and have life-changing facial plastic surgery.

Filmon arrived to the U.S. in March and has been strengthening his skin tissue for the surgery through hyperbaric oxygen therapy at AAMC. He completed 28 hyperbaric treatments to get him ready for his surgeries. “Filmon has become near and dear to all of us. We are very fortunate to be able to administer this treatment to aid in Filmon’s healing process. All our prayers are with him and his family,” said Anita Smith, RN, nurse manager of the Wound and Hyperbaric Center.

On July 31, Filmon underwent a 10-hour surgery to begin the reshaping of his facial bones. Dr. Zebowitz performed the surgery for free and AAMC absorbed the hospital expenses. A care team of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and others continues to care for Filmon as he progresses each day.

Stay tuned for more on courageous Filmon Haile and his team of awesome health care providers.

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