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.
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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Jul 11, 2014

$2M Philips Cath Lab Passes Test

Joe Maggiore in Lead Apron
Joe Maggiore in Lead Apron

"Awesome," was how visiting honors student Joe Maggiore described his experience when he was there to witness the first test of the $2M Catheterization Lab donated by Philips Medical, USA.  Dean Rindlisbach, Philips representative, was there to calibrate the computers to the equipment and perform the test, but in addition, he took the time to show Joe how the system works.  Joe wrote later, "When we got to the hospital, Philippe [Lerch, SoH Nicaragua program director] and I had to first meet up with Dean Rindlisbach from Philips Medical. Philips Medical donated this $2M CATH lab to the cardiac center, and Dean ... was visiting to finish up the CATH lab and configure all of the computers. It was here that I lived my geek dream. Once Dean was almost done wrapping up his configuration things, he brought me into the CATH lab and showed me how everything works. I really didn’t know the first thing about CATH labs so it was absolutely great for Dean to be so nice to show me around. During the demonstration I even had to wear this lead apron to protect me from the radiation. It was awesome."

"Awesome," is how we describe the help given to our project by Global Giving donors.  You have stayed with us and contributed toward making this Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua a reality.  Because of you, hundreds of children have regained their childhoods, now free of the heart defects that plagued their infancy and young childhood.  And, you continue to support our mission to envision a world where no child is barred from access to life-saving heart surgery, when such help is readily available in the developed world.  Our Pediatric Heart Center is a state-of-the-art, modern facility designed to be a beacon to draw medical professionals from throughout Central America to take advantage of the skilled care now available and the training progrems being developed.

Learning that Joe (also an accomplished percussionist) had planned a concert for the children on his steel drum, Dean invited his daughter along on the trip and she brought her ukelele.  The two young musicians played their music for the children and staff on Saturday, setting up in various locations on the grounds, making for an unparalelled experience for all.  The music was lively and most of the children had never seen or heard the instruments being played.  Music can have strong healing powers for the kids, too.

The Pediatric Heart Center is coming to life, steadily and surely.  The air conditioning has now been replaced by a stronger unit in time for our next surgical mission trip which will be supported by Surgeons of Hope, bringing a skilled team in late July from Bucaramanga and Bogota, Colombia. 

Your Global Giving donations surely help us to keep the progress going.  You have brought us this far.  Keep it up.

Assembled Cath Lab
Assembled Cath Lab
Exterior of the Pediatric Heart Center
Exterior of the Pediatric Heart Center
Concert in the Courtyard
Concert in the Courtyard

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