Doctors Give New Hope to Land Mine Victim

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (January 8, 2006) – Drs. Ann Renucci and Karl Siebert recently performed two surgeries to assist a young land-mine victim from El Salvador.  The patient, Mauricio Villacorta, is a 16-year-old boy who was working in a cornfield near his home in El Salvador, when a land mine exploded in his face.  He was rushed to a local hospital in El Salvador where both arms were amputated.  The boy suffered from facial injuries and irreparable damage to one eye.  His remaining eye required extensive surgical repair, unavailable in El Salvador, to give the patient any chance of vision.

Recognizing Mauricio’s urgent medical needs, the boy was flown to the United States by Children’s Cross Connection International (CCC), an Atlanta-based non-profit medical mission organization.  Through CCC, he was connected with Drs. Renucci and Siebert of Verdier Eye Center, PLC and Dr. Tom Aaberg from Associated Retinal Consultants.  Dr. Renucci performed a keratoprosthesis (artificial cornea) and cornea transplant and Dr. Aaberg removed shrapnel from inside the eye.  Dr. Siebert later performed a glaucoma procedure.

Following surgery, Mauricio has been able to see to recognize people and objects and ambulate independently.  He is expected to regain more vision with further recuperation back home in El Salvador.