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(V. I. Consortium) ST. THOMAS — Earlier this week a team of clinicians at Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC) successfully performed the first ever cleft palate repair in the Virgin Islands, the hospital has announced. The patient, a 3 year old girl affectionately known as “Angel” is doing well and expected to be released by week’s end.

Angel was born with a cleft of the soft palate and partial cleft of the hard palate, according SRMC. This caused her to have problems with eating, breathing, hearing and speech development.  Her parents said she was also plagued by frequent colds.

“About a year ago we had a consultation with a hospital in Miami to repair Angel’s cleft palate and were not at all happy with how we were treated.  Everything was very rushed and we didn’t feel like they really cared about our daughter” said Angel’s mother.

The family had made plans to travel to Houston, TX to consult with another surgeon when they learned that SRMC could accommodate the surgery and that there was now a surgeon in St. Thomas, Dr. Eric J. Stelnicki, who could perform the surgery. They were overjoyed.

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