Valley Children's plastic surgeon helps Visalia boy injured in crash

Each year, the pediatric plastic surgery department at Valley Children's performs over 1,300 plastic surgery procedures.
MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Arturo Alvarez is a typical 13-year-old. He loves to play with his friends and family.

But what's behind his mask is a medical marvel.

Arturo and his two brothers were injured in a car accident on February 22, 2019. Arturo's injuries were more severe.

"When I got into the hospital. I saw my son's face, open, open, you could see the bone," said Candeleria Rojas, Arturo's mother.

"I couldn't walk. I couldn't do anything. I just had to stay on the bed," Arturo said.

Arturo was transferred to Valley Children's Hospital.

"And they say that we're going call in a specialist, a surgeon. And that's when Dr. Galvez came to the rescue!"

Dr. Michael Galvez is one of four pediatric craniofacial surgeons at Valley Children's Hospital. He also specializes in hand surgery.

"As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, we deal with complex facial injuries, and so when we're on call," said Dr. Galvez. "There isn't a day that we don't deal with facial trauma. And so it can be something from a dog bite which is more soft tissue or something where it's a trauma where there was actually an impact or force."

Each year, the pediatric plastic surgery department performs over 1,300 plastic surgery procedures.

"In (Arturo's) case, the fractures were displaced. Displaced means that the bony structure was off place, and so if you were to leave it like that, he would be disfigured," Dr. Galvez said.

"I was more worried about his eye because of the way I saw the eye. It was this destroyed because he's like from right here, all the way down. And it was open totally open, and they had the eye cover and everything and, and I was more worried about the eyes than the face."

Dr. Galvez placed titanium plates in Arturo's face.

"He had this very large laceration, and it was going deep into his bone and he had bony fractures of the central part of the face. The mid-face and then part of the orbit where the eye actually sits. Those are things that we that I had to consider to reconstruct with plating." Dr. Galvez said.

"The other important part was the drainage of the eye. So that's where we placed the silastic. It's a silicone stent to help it heal," he added.

After two surgeries, Arturo's face is back to normal. He graduated from the eighth grade and is impressed with the healing hands at Valley Children's

"Dr. Galvez did a really good job on my face," Arturo said.

And Mom is relieved and grateful. "I think I'm more than grateful.
I have no words to describe the service that they gave my son. How nice they were with me, and to the whole family. And I love them. I love them. I love them," she said.

"Thank God, and thanks to Dr. Galvez. My son is like new," she added.

While Dr. Galvez doesn't consider himself a hero, "I think it's part of our job, it's what we sign up for to be helpful."

One mom thinks otherwise.

"Dr. Galvez is my hero," Rojas said.

HOW TO HELP: Support Valley Children's Hospital by donating through the Futures Worth Fighting For Telethon
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