Firestone Natural Rubber Participates in Surgical Mission
Liberia based Firestone Natural Rubber Company (FSNR) recently worked with a team from Children’s Surgery International to provide 142 free operations on underprivileged youths at the company’s Firestone Medical Center in Duside. The 300 bed hospital, reopened in December 2008 after being destroyed during Liberia’s civil war, provides free health care to Firestone Natural Rubber employees and their families plus health services to the wider community.
“I can remember very clearly when, in 2004, we were assessing the damage that occurred during the war. I wondered then if we would ever be able to turn Firestone Medical Center into a hospital again,” said FSBR president Dan Adomitis. “Knowing all of the hard work that we have put into rebuilding our entire operation, being able to host this mission is something in which our team takes great pride.”
Twenty volunteer doctors and nurses from Children’s Surgery International (CSI), coordinated with Firestone Medical Center staff to perform the surgeries, which ranged from hernia repairs, scar revisions and skin grafts to tumour removal, cleft lip and palate surgery. CSI doctors also provided training for Firestone surgeons in specialised procedures.
“The team from Children’s Surgery International was absolutely phenomenal,” said Adomitis. “The surgeons put in very long days in the operating room, setting a record for the number of surgeries performed in a single mission. Their generous volunteerism has clearly changed a lot of lives.”
Numerous other Firestone employees also played a role in the mission, assisting with the logistics of transporting, housing and feeding patients and their family members. In addition, employees from Bridgestone Americas companies provided donations of toys, children’s books and clothing that were distributed during the mission.
“The mission was even more successful than we had hoped,” said Dr. Peter Melchert, medical director for CSI. “So much of what we were able to accomplish is directly related to the generosity of Firestone. We are thankful to every nurse, physician and support staff that gave all they had to ensure the mission was such a success.”
Building upon the success of this mission, CSI and FSNR have already started discussing plans for “Duside II” – a second surgical mission hosted by the Firestone Medical Center at Duside.