Italian surgeon examines Vietnamese children with genital deformities

TN News

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Dr. Roberto De Castro, a famous Italian specialist in pediatric genital reconstruction, is in Hanoi to provide free examination for 86 Vietnamese child patients with genital deformities.

After arriving in Hanoi on Tuesday, Dr. De Castro has been examining child patients at the Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.

He will select the most severe cases for free surgeries scheduled in November.

The Italian doctor also plans to train Vietnamese doctors to perform genital reconstruction surgeries.

Dr. De Castro's visit is part of the "Regeneration of Genital Organs for Vietnamese Children" program launched by Greig Craft, President of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, and Tran Mai Anh, the adoptive mother of Phung Thien Nhan, whose savaged penis was successfully recreated by Dr. De Castro last January.

In 2006, Nhan was discovered 72 hours after being abandoned at birth by his teenage mother in a jungle in central Vietnam.

The newborn was mauled by a wild animal, most likely a dog, which chewed off his right leg and badly savaged his genitals.

After being found by villagers, he was rushed to the nearest hospital and saved.

Nhan was then adopted by Tran Mai Anh and Phung Quang Nghinh, a Hanoi couple, both journalists, who spent the ensuing years raising donations for reconstructive surgeries and prosthetics to make the boy whole again.

In April, 2008, Nhan's adopted mother took him to a major children's hospital in Thailand.

Doctors there said reconstructing his penis was impossible and recommended that Nhan undergo a transgender surgery.

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At the end of 2009, Anh and her adopted child flew to a hospital in Texas where doctors said they hoped to recreate his penis only when he reached puberty.

Anh's hopes of helping Nhan determine his gender before entering school at age six seemed lost, until Anh was introduced to Dr. De Castro who told her of a new, experimental procedure.

Dr. De Castro believed that Nhan's sex organs could be recreated using skin taken from his belly.

The Italian physician seemed sure the penis would grow along as Nhan's body developed.

Anh and Greig Craft, Nhan's godfather, flew to Blogana to meet Dr. De Castro some time last year.

Surgery was set for January 29, 2011 at half the normal cost.

After nine hours of surgery, Thien Nhan became a real boy.

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