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October 2022

Cleft Palate J. 1988 Oct; 25(4): 395-402.

The craniofacial team and the Navajo patient.

Smoot EC, Kucan JO, Cope JS, Aase JM.

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of New Mexico, School of Medicine, Albuquerque.

The craniofacial team at the University of New Mexico Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico has treated a large population of Navajo Indians. Team awareness of the Navajo concept of health as man in balance with his environment has resulted in more expedient treatment of the Navajo children. An understanding of Navajo concerns with ghosts, skinwalkers, and rules for orderly living has allowed team members to integrate the family and the Navajo medicine man in caring for the children with craniofacial disease. Special concerns for informed surgical consent and genetic counseling of the Navajo are reviewed. Respect for the traditional Navajo healing ceremonies and special handling of disposed body parts in surgery are required of the health professionals caring for these people.

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