Surgeons of Hope Foundation, Inc.

Surgeons of Hope's purpose is to bring local access to modern surgical care for indigent children with heart disease in Latin America. By building sustainable state-of-the-art pediatric cardiac hospitals, Surgeons of Hope provides lasting care to these children. Our motto "It's not only what we bring. It's what we leave behind" underscores our commitment to educating and sharing skills with our training programs that will enhance understanding and treatment of care.
Mar 12, 2015

Belgian and French Teams Visit Heart Center

Post-Surgery with mother--Belgian Team
Post-Surgery with mother--Belgian Team's Mission

Recent weeks have seen growing heart-saving activity at the new Pediatric Heart Center in Managua, Nicaragua.  Two teams, one from Belgium and one from France, visited the Heart Center with differing mission concepts.  The Belgian team of 12 volunteers performed a standard mission of providing operations while training the local medical team.  10 children were operated on during the week that the Belgian team was there in mid-February. 

Then, in late February, a team of 3 from Mecenat Cardiaque, a Paris organization, visited the center to focus on echocardiography, studying the hearts of 30 children weakened by heart problems, and thought to be in advanced stages requiring the most complex of surgical procedures to be saved.  Genuinely moved by the numbers of cases, visiting cardiologist  Dr. Laurent Fermont, resolved to bring one child to Paris for surgery first, and then in future months to try to progressively bring more children for surgery in France.

Interviewed during the Belgian mission, cardiac surgeon Katrien Francois, MD, took time in the ICU to reflect upon the essence of their mission.  She noted with some gravity, that the Belgian team would not experience such advanced cases in their home country.  By visiting Nicaragua, her team was able to utilize aspects of their training geared toward helping children who had not been able to access care in a more timely manner--their situations were far beyond those usually found in the developed world where such problems are dealt with sooner.  For that reason, the Belgian team was grateful for the opportunity to visit our Heart Center.  They could experience the need, help the afflicted infants and children, and train the local medical team in essential procedures.

In April, a team will be traveling from Madrid, Spain, for their first visit to our Heart Center.  A volunteer team of 12 have agreed to go.  This team was assembled, thanks to the enthusiasm of one of the nurses at the children's hospital in Madrid.  Nurse Gemma was part of the French mission team of 2014, and upon  her return home, she resolved to assemble her colleagues into their own team and go back to Managua.

As Global Giving friends of Surgeons of Hope, you have contributed to bringing all of these volunteer teams to our Heart Center.  Think of the young lives of the children who have received desperately-needed help, and realize that each of you has had a hand in this success.  There is still more to be done, but we are getting there.

Commenting on the contributions of these various international teams, SoH Executive Director Charles Catherine said that these teams bring their various approaches to the work that we are doing in Nicaragua.  The local medical team, particularly Mireya Araica, MD, Cardiologist at the Heart Center, has praised the progress that she has seen all around her.  "I am excited that a Spanish-speaking team from one of the world's leading children's hospitals in Madrid is preparing for a mission," Mr. Catherine said.

Please continue to support our work to heal these children's hearts in Nicaragua.  Your Global Giving dollars go very far.

Working in the busy  ICU
Working in the busy ICU
Mecenat Cardique consultation session
Mecenat Cardique consultation session
Mecenat team with local hospital officials
Mecenat team with local hospital officials

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Dec 15, 2014

International Team Performs 9 Delicate Operations

Dr. Metras Greets Baby Lesyenia Before Surgery
Dr. Metras Greets Baby Lesyenia Before Surgery

Pushing through unanticipated events including a power failure, air conditioning shortage, and a late shipment of one type of essential medicine, our volunteer international team, during their one-week stay last week, completed 9 operations on infants and children in need of heart surgery.  The surgeries were performed at our new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua, located in Managua.  The international team was headed by renowned pediatric heart surgeon, Dominique Metras, MD, of Marseille, France.  Team members came from Marseille and Bordeaux, France; Madrid, Spain; and Ramallah, Palestine.  Despite the difficulties, all of the operations were successful.  The team is grateful to the technical crew serving the hospital for their ingenuity in helping to find solutions to the technical difficulties as they arose.

One of the ablest chroniclers of the week in photographs was Hasan Amar, MD, the anesthesiologist from Palestine.  In between operations, he snapped some great photographs, some of which are included with this report.  Describing the first patient seen on Monday (Jennifer, 13 years of age), he wrote, "a cute girl suffering congenital aortic stenosis underwent a successful operation by the international team." 

The photographs speak volumes.  One touching snapshot of Dr. Metras greeting little Lesyenia (11 months), in advance of her operation during which her life would be in his capable hands is included with this report.  The operation went well and her life is immeasurably changed now that she is free of the heart ailment that was holding her hostage.  Her childhood is now ahead of her--she will live the life of a healthy little girl. 

Philippe Lerch, our Nicaragua Program Director, wrote in a preliminary report that the air conditioning will be fixed in January, in time for another surgical mission team's arrival from Belgium.  He said that the medical supplies were in place for the mission in sufficient supply that the team was able to function well without the late medication.

Our GlobalGiving friends who direct donatiions our way by using their company's gift cards or by direct donation through our GlobalGiving project page are to be thanked for this success.  If you are reading this report, you are an integral part of Surgeons of Hope.  Please consider an end-of-the-year gift to us.  We are a small organization, so we put your dollars right to work for the good of the kids who are waiting for our help.  Please give. 

Akim After Surgery, Thinking of the Holidays
Akim After Surgery, Thinking of the Holidays
Little Sujeya With Post Op Lollipop
Little Sujeya With Post Op Lollipop
Volunteer Team Gathers for Photo
Volunteer Team Gathers for Photo

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Sep 25, 2014

Team from NYPH-Columbia Medical Center Returns

The First Surgery of the Week, photo by Dr. Vu
The First Surgery of the Week, photo by Dr. Vu

               Completing their first mission to our new Pediatric Heart Center in Managua, Nicaragua, a 15-member team from New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia Medical Center (NYPH), led by Dr. Paul Chai who heads their Pediatric Cardiac Department, has returned safely to New York from their week-long mission. Nine infants and children received critically-needed open-heart surgery at the hands of the team as they collaborated with the local surgical staff at the Heart Center. Specialized training in essential surgical procedures was an integral part of the week.

               Our mission was the first humanitarian mission undertaken by NYPH in the country of Nicaragua, according to Philippe Lerch, Surgeons of Hope’s Nicaragua Program Director, in a preliminary report received today. “The NYPH mission definitely established the important role of our Heart Center and its future in Managua and surrounding regions in Central America,” Mr. Lerch said.

               NYPH has volunteered teams for SoH missions in the past and the collaboration has been immensely productive in providing the best in heart care for the poorest children in other parts of the world. In 2004, when Surgeons of Hope was a young organization, the first four missions ever accomplished by us were led by NYPH teams traveling to Asia and Africa (Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Senegal). Jillian Kirkpatrick, RN, head nurse on Dr. Chai’s Nicaragua mission team, was also a team member for those 2004 missions.

               Since the early years, Surgeons of Hope has focused on Latin America and sends teams from other leading hospitals in the US and Europe. Our history boasts about the steady, sure growth that our program provides, thanks to the help and support of our Global Giving partners and friends. For that we thank you all. Your donations continue to make our work possible for these kids.

               Team members Dien Vu, MD (anesthesia); Carmen Martinez and Melissa Varrone, RNs, sent along some early photos which we know our Global Giving friends will enjoy.

               How can we thank you, our Global Giving friends, except to say "Thank you all".  We can't do it without your continued willingness to donate and your characteristic generosity.

Diagnostic Scanning of Little Patient
Diagnostic Scanning of Little Patient
Second Day Surgery, photo by Carmen Martinez, RN
Second Day Surgery, photo by Carmen Martinez, RN
Dr. Chai Teaching During Surgery
Dr. Chai Teaching During Surgery
Dr. Cheung Instructing
Dr. Cheung Instructing

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