TalkCleft-palate-operation, patient died, but surgeon finished job
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It was written by a plastic surgeon about a colleague who specialized in craniofacial surgery, repairing cleft lips and palates. They had gone to Mexico to work in a clinic, and an impoverished woman brought her teenaged daughter in for surgery. Tragically, she died from an allergic reaction to the anesthetic (or something like that). But the surgeon completed the repair of the disfigurement, and returned the girl to her mother—never to wake up, but with the disfigurement gone.
The doctor who told the story recalled his feelings towards his colleague, whom he initially judged as being cold and mechanical, but was impressed by his act of compassion, since he did a meticulous job of repairing the unfortunate girl's disfigurement.
ETA: The Richard Selzer essay, Imelda (Letters to a Young Doctor). I'm not seeing the full text available online, but various summaries mention matching details on the cleft lip/palate, sudden death before surgery, post-death repair, general location (Honduras), and slides.