Phipps, on Dec. 18,2001. . Sandra Lynn Rierson (' 89 AB) and Shaun Patrick Martin of Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.; a daughter, Sierra Lynn Martin, on Sept. 29, 2001. E-mail: email@example.com. • Cynthia Low- man Stieby (' 89 BSST) and Edward Jay
Stieby of Cincinnati, Ohio; a son, Avery
Joseph Stieby, on Aug. 4, 2001. E-mail:
Elise Snyder Corpening (' 89 AB), 34, of
Morganton; Nov, 26, 2001. Corpening worked
for the Department of Energy in Washington,
DC., and was named 1991 employee of the
year. • Linda Lee Shear (' 89 MSPH), 47, of
Manlius, N.Y., director of operations with
United Health Care; Aug. 24,2001.
Smiles from Home
She appeared to be a wisp of a girl, as tiny as an elf, yet Maritess Emalon was
a woman of 18, with caramel-colored skin
and big dark eyes that refused to meet his
gaze. Her jawbones, noticed Larry Parworth ' 96 (MS), were so far out of alignment she appeared to have no chin. And as
he tried to examine her, she cried softly
from the pain shooting from a mouthful of
infected teeth, teeth he could not see
because she could not open her mouth.
When Maritess was 3, she fell down a
flight of stairs and broke her lower jaw
where it hinges to her skull. Doctors told
her parents nothing could be done. When
the broken bone grew back, it fused to her
skull and forced her jaw shut, except for
the narrow opening on one side through
which she stuck food with a finger.
The deformity robbed Maritess of the
capacity to smile. It stole her childhood.
And over the years, it left her with rotting
teeth that threatened to shorten her life if
they were not removed - and soon.
"I could tell she could not move her mouth
a millimeter, not a hair, because her joint
was totally fused," said Parworth, an Air
Force oral surgeon who was volunteering
for two weeks in April 2001 with a medical
mission at a clinic in Bacolod City in the
Philippines. "I had never seen anything so
severe in my life."
He played out the scenario in his mind:
"Here's a girl who nobody is going to help.
She's got a mouthful of rotten teeth. They
are starting to become infected. The infection could spread into the spaces of her
neck between the muscles and fascia. It
could close off her airway."
What made the condition all the more
serious was that she was poor. And in the
Philippines, if you didn't have any money,
you don't get treatment, no matter how
serious the emergency.
be needed. He thought about taking her
back to the Air Force hospital in Okinawa,
too, but quickly dismissed it. She wouldn't
be eligible, and even if she had been,
Parworth knew he would not be in Okinawa
long enough to do the operation by the
time he cut through all the red tape. He
had orders that in early July would take him
and his family to a new assignment at
Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
But he also knew if something wasn't
done, she would die. And he knew that if he
didn't do it, nobody else would.
Doug Sutherland was the ordained min-
ister who had organized the medical mis-
sion through Christians in Action, an inter-
denominational group based in California.
Sutherland remembers how Parworth ago-
nized over Maritess' case before he finally
figured out that he had
to turn to Carolina for
Editor's note: A version of this story orig-
inally appeared in the University Gazette,
the UNC publication for faculty and staff
where Moss serves as managing editor.
May / June 2002