Interview with Prof. Valenti

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Dr. Phillipe Valenti is an old member of La Chaîne de l'Espoir organization in France. He travels to various countries including Iran to treat underprivileged children every year. He came to Iran in February 2018 for a medical mission.

Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I am Dr. Valenti, I practice at clinics in Paris. I do shoulder surgery. I work on kids outside my country, particularly in Iran twice a year. We also go to Brazil and some other countries where children are poor and there is no health system to protect them

What made you decide to become Professor Valenti? Why did you become a physician?
It is a big question. A long time ago, I decided to do that and now it is difficult for me to remember. I am trying to find in my memory why I decided to do that. I think it was at the beginning a passion to help people and to treat patients, to develop some techniques, because the job of a doctor is to combine techniques. Treating a patient is a combination of techniques and provision of psychological support for the patient. It is a combination of techniques and taking charge of patients. It is very interesting to combine both.
I did not decide to become Professor Valenti, if you work a lot, if you do many operations, if you do many lectures, you become a professor. You do not decide to become a professor

What factors encouraged you to work in the charity field?
It was a long time ago, a man named professor Deloche asked me to go to Vietnam for boat people. Boat people is a story of children who were stuck in sea. It was necessary to pick them up from boats and to take them back to Vietnam to avoid destruction of boats and destruction of life. It was a long time ago, maybe in 1978. It was my first mission. It was not a surgical mission; it was actually a humanitarian one. It was after USA war in Vietnam to protect some kids who were outside the country. We decided to do a mission with a group of doctors in France named "French Doctors" we came to Asia, we organized a boat to pick up children in sea. It was not for surgery, it was a caritative act.

Alright, were there any incidence in your life making you do this? Did anything happened in your life, which encouraged you to become a charity worker?
Yes, I think the most important thing for me was a mission in Afghanistan, Kabul. At the first time, there was no surgeon for microsurgery. They were only general surgeons, no orthopedic surgeons. Therefore, we decided to build a hospital to start an educational program for the surgeons to teach them microsurgeries.

What made you decide to cooperate with Zanjireh Omid?
I know a surgeon in France whose name is Prof. Mazda. Mazda asked me to come to Iran to do surgeries. I met Maryam Marashi on that trip. She decided to establish Zanjireh Omid and I started cooperating with Zanjireh Omid.

You are considered as one of the top specialist in orthopedics. Could you please tell us about your medical experiences in Iran?
Iran? The first was eight years ago. We decided to do two missions every year. The first mission was not here, it was in a private clinic. After two or three missions, we met Dr. Zargar, we decided to develop surgery for upper limb pathology. In the beginning, he was a general orthopedic pediatric surgeon, and now he does all. It is a great pleasure to know that after ten missions, he is able to do many things; maybe in future we change our country because he is very expert in his field and he has a good team around him now. Over the past seven year, he has been doing a very nice educational program including fellows and assistants. They are able to do maybe 80 or 90% of all difficult surgeries.

Do you have any prominent experience or memory from years of your experience at La Chaîne de l'Espoir in Iran?
I remember a child who had many difficulties. Its pathology was impressive. We decided to operate about 4 times and now the kid is better. For me, it was a very good satisfaction. I have a lot of history of kids.
Which one is the most prominent for you?
The most prominent is a child with brachial plexus injury who after 2 or 3 years you see her and she is able to maintain things, to hold them. If you do not do the surgery, it will not be possible for her or him to do these things. This is a restoration of a function of upper limb and it is a great satisfaction.

What are the most epidemic disorders you have encountered in Iran?
Erb's palsy, brachial plexus
Is it the only frequent disorder in the country?
It is more important in the country. The education of gynecology is not so good. I think this is a very complex problem. They mix religious problems. They mix the problem that do not go to hospital for pregnancy. They stay at home they deliver at home. Caesarian is not authorized in this country.

How successful has La Chaîne de l'Espoir-Iran been in treatment of rare cases?
I think La Chaîne de l'Espoir of Iran is a fantastic organization with Maryam Marashi because Maryam Marashi supports the association. She gives all her time to this organization. I think that's very important for poor children in Iran that this kind of caritative activity exists

What is your ideal vision of La Chaîne de l'Espoir in future?
I think that in two or three months, we can do education via website and the Internet from Paris to Tehran in the form of Telemedicine. I think it will be the future of that

You mean via Skype or other applications?
Yes.I think that we continue to do missions and the new surgeries will continue.  I try to choose other countries who are very poor and it is necessary to help them. But we'll continue to do missions in Iran.

You have probably heard about the hospital project? So what is your opinion about the project?
It's a good thing because I think that there are many kids living in this country and life conditions are not very good. Many people are poor and there are many congenital anomalies because the level of life is low. Conditions are low. There is no prevention. It is very important to do preventions but in this country, it is low, there is not enough money to do preventions. There are many congenital anomalies; it is too expensive for parents to pay for the treatment of kids. This is the reason why "Maryam Marashi" is important. Zanjireh Omid has done a great work in treatment of brachial plexus injury. These cases need to go under nerve transplantation operation. Zanjireh Omid imports Biological glue to Iran to make these surgeries possible. Price of the hospital is very expensive. The government does not help because it is expensive if you have to treat poor children, it is necessary to have donations. It is a good way but it is difficult way. The world has no support of Iran. When we are in Paris we are looking for money to do missions. We ask please give us money to do missions in Iran. Nobody pays that because they are afraid of Iran. The picture of Iran is war. It is not a very nice picture.

It's because of media propaganda?
Yes
Thank you very much for your time, we really appreciate it.

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