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Bury St Edmunds: Doctor helps children smile

10:00 18 December 2012

Clive Duke, who has just returned from his fourth trip abroad to help children with facial deformities to smile again.

Clive Duke, who has just returned from his fourth trip abroad to help children with facial deformities to smile again.

Archant

A CONSULTANT anaesthetist at West Suffolk Hospital has returned from his fourth trip aboard to help children with facial deformities to smile again.

Clive Duke, of Little Whelnetham, near Bury St Edmunds, takes annual leave from his role at the hospital to work for Operation Smile – a charity that provides free surgery to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children across the globe.

Dr Duke, who has travelled to India, Ghana, Madagascar and most recently the Phillipines to help young people, said he wanted to “give something back”.

He added: “It’s not just a physical incapacity – they have problems eating, they have problems talking. They don’t go to school usually, they’re shunned.”

“It affects their whole life to such a huge degree and so it’s a great thing we can do to operate and give them a smile. It has a huge effect on the child and their family.”

Dr Duke, who has been based at the Bury St Edmunds hospital since 2004, said in the Philippines he met a 14-year-old child who had not been to school for years because he had been teased about his condition.

In Madagascar he met two teenagers who had walked for four days to get to the operating theatre.

The consultant, one in 500 to 700 children around the world are born with a cleft palate and that in some Third World countries it costs the average person a year’s wages to pay for corrective surgery.

He added: “Operation Smile takes First World medicine to the Third World. I didn’t want to go out to the Third World and drop my quality or standards of care. I feel hugely supported by the team.”

Dermot O’Riordan, medical director at West Suffolk Hospital, said initiatives such as Operation Smile help broaden staff’s experience and “give them a fantastic opportunity to use their expertise to help others”.

1 comment

  • What a wonderful thing to do, how much more deserving of recognition is this international operation than those such as so called democracies and dictatorships the world over who think nothing of going to war and killing and maiming millions of children. It's a cruel world we live in and I suppose always will be.

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    JOHN BURLS

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Motorists could be facing travel chaos in and around Ipswich today as high winds threaten to close part of the A14.

Highways England chiefs have said an update on whether the Orwell Bridge will be open or closed to drivers this morning is to come at 7am today, February 23.

Were you in Ipswich when Margaret Thatcher visited in April 1979, just one month before she won the general election?

A pizza delivery driver who was involved in an accident with another vehicle in Wherstead Road, Ipswich has been banned from the roads after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

For as long as I’ve been covering developments in Suffolk – and that extends to decades rather than years – there has been a perceived conflict between out of town retail parks and traditional town centres.

High-risk sex offenders, including those with a history of breaching court restrictions, are not being checked by Essex Police a new report has revealed.

A storm is set to hit Suffolk and north Essex today – the not-quite-so-terrifyingly-named Storm Doris.

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