A disfigured facial appearance affects various aspects of an individual’s life. This includes the ability to interact with others, produce speech, eat and attain employment. The effects may also be psychological in nature, causing low self esteem, depression or even body dysmorphia. Social problems include social stigma experienced by the patient and family, bullying, inability to go to school, find employment, social isolation and reduced interest in interacting with peers.
Corrective surgery and the rehabilitation of these individuals often involves treatment from various medical professionals including plastic surgery, neurosurgery, psychiatry, ENT care, orthodontics and all the branches of general dentistry, speech therapy, and community medicine. It is thus a complex and expensive process. Few patients, therefore, have the access and the resources to avail of this treatment.
Evolution of the trust
In 1990, a group of doctors began treating patients with facial deformities using funds that were raised locally. This included providing Plastic Surgery and Orthodontic treatment to patients at no cost. Treatment was typically carried out in the St. John’s Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka. In addition, the transportation costs and cost of living incurred during treatment was reimbursed to the family during each phase of treatment.
In order to formalise and ensure the continuity of the provision of these services, the New Faces Charitable Trust was founded in 2008. Its chief purpose is to provide high quality care to individuals who typically cannot afford such complex and long term treatment. With the support of the St. John’s Medical College and Hospital and its social work department, they have been providing free care to over 250 patients for the past eight and a half years. As its chief aim is to provide care to individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford it, the Trust focuses on patients being treated in the general ward of the hospital.
Since its inception in 2008, New Faces Trust has attempted to provide integrated care to as many individuals with facial deformities as possible. The trust evolved from the philosophy that high quality reconstructive care must be made available to patients with facial deformities from all sections of society. With the help of sponsors, therefore, New Faces provides quality care at minimal or no cost to the patient.
A large number of individuals suffer from various facial deformities due to congenital and birth defects. Such deformities range from cleft lip and palate to more complex deformities such as craniofacial synostosis. In addition, treatment often spans several years, beginning at birth and continuing on until the age of 22 years.
Facial deformities may also occur secondary to trauma and burns. Trauma related deformities are typically caused by road traffic accidents. Further, chemical and electric burns are also a cause of facial deformities. Chemical burns are more prevalent in the female population, particularly those caused by acid attacks. Electric burns are usually reported by KEB (Karnataka Electricity Board) employees and are one of the most common work related injuries reported by these workers.
New Faces provides integrated treatment for facial deformities at minimal or no cost to the patient. This includes the cost of stay in the general ward as well as other expenses incurred by the patient and family during the treatment period.