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Pacific Partnership Surgery Rebuilds Life For Indonesian Baby

11 June 2012

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Feddersen, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

An 8-month-old Indonesian boy's life has been rebuilt thanks to a joint Indonesian and Pacific Partnership medical team, June 7.

MANADO, INDONESIA (NNS) - An 8-month-old Indonesian boy's life has been rebuilt thanks to a joint Indonesian and Pacific Partnership medical team, June 7.

Hendra Mangadil required approximately five hours of neurosurgery and maxillofacial surgery to correct a portion of his brain lining that was protruding through a hole in his skull between his eyes.

Royal Australian Navy Reserve Maxillofacial Surgeon Lt. Cmdr. John McHugh said to stop the condition from getting worse, timely intervention was needed.

"We shared and combined techniques to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient," he said. "The hole was small enough to avoid using a bone fragment or a metal plate to fill it, thus reducing the risk of infection. This is very important, as the child lives in a distant area of the island, far away from medical help.

"So after the protrusion was pushed back in by the neurosurgeons, we made a strong, two-layered flap of bone-covering tissue to prevent a reoccurrence of the condition. With the pressure on the hole in the skull removed, the bone should grow and fill the gap over time," said McHugh.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Curtis Gaball, a facial plastic surgeon for the operation, said the surgery went better than expected.

"The surgery was very smooth and straightforward," he said. "It ended up being a great collaborative effort between U.S., Australia and Indonesian surgeons. We came into the operation prepared with a number of different options in case we needed to implement them, but the need for such measures never came. We are very happy with the outcome of the procedure."

Hendra's father, Hendrick Mangadil, said he hopes his son gets better and can grow up like normal children.

"I want to thank everyone from Pacific Partnership and the Siloan Hospital for providing great care for my son," said Mangadil. "My baby will now be able to grow up and get a proper education, as well as a good childhood. Without this help, we wouldn't have been able to give him the life he has the potential for."

Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Chung said if left untreated the boy would be at risk of contracting meningitis, as well as the chance of the protrusion to get larger, pushing his eyes further apart, causing him headaches and obscured vision.

"I think the main thing we did for him was prevent the widening of the eyes," Chung said. "Not only that, but we also saved him from what could have potentially been a lot of ridicule throughout his life because of the defect. We were happy to know the surgery went smoothly and he will be left in the wonderful care of Siloan Hospital"

Gaball said Pacific Partnership surgeons enjoyed working with their Indonesian counterparts.

"The surgeons we worked with were very talented and it was a great learning experience for everyone," he said. "All of us benefitted from it in some way. We are looking forward to these kinds of opportunities to arise in the future. They are tremendously beneficial for the host nations involved as well as our own providers."

Pacific Partnership surgeons are expecting to partake in similar procedures in the upcoming mission ports of Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet event U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information about the PP12 mission, please visit the Pacific Partnership Blog or engage with Pacific Partnership on Facebook and Twitter.

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