June will bring tremendous progress to Surgeons of Hope's program in Nicaragua with the opening of the new Pediatric Heart Center, adjacent to La Mascota Children's Hospital in Managua. The Health Ministry of Nicaragua is equally excited about this first opening, which will be a phased-in program, featuring the opening of one of the two operating rooms, and half of the ICU unit furnished. The formal Grand Opening is scheduled for 2014, but this opening will be celebrated as the first surgical mission team will gather in late June, coming from France, Palestine, and Colombia, to perform the first surgeries in the new facility. The team of ten is looking forward to their historic role in providing access to pediatric open-heart surgery for the poor in Nicaragua.
Surgeons of Hope has been working hard to provide furnishings for the new Center. A new operating room table is on its way from Germany, and operating room lights are being sent as a donation from a hospital in Delaware. Two huge shipping containers full of ICU beds and regular hospital beds, monitoring equipment and supplies have arrived safely in Managua from New York (AFYA) and Denver (Project CURE). They have cleared Customs, and are awaiting trucking from the Health Ministry warehouse to the new Heart Center. Philippe Lerch, our SoH Regional Director for the Nicaragua Program, is in Managua to oversee the furnishing of the new Center, and he is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the trucks bearing the new equipment and supplies.
While the donations of supplies and equipment have been on-going, Surgeons of Hope still needs you, our GlobalGiving family. Your faithfulness to our efforts is a great joy to us, as your donations will provide for the necessities that accompany this equipping effort. The local staff at La Mascota is earnest in welcoming the improvements to their pediatric care capabilities, but there are real challenges that remain. While they wish to be able to do a better job with sterilization, for example, they are hampered by lack of the supplies that are necessary to achieve that progress. Everything from pump dispensers for hand soap and right up the supply ladder is sorely needed. That's where our GlobalGiving team comes in.
Please consider doing what you can to help and if you are a past donor, please give again.
A 19-member surgical/medical team from Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York has returned from an SoH sponsored week-long mission trip to La Mascota Children's Hospital in Managua, the site of SoH's new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua. Reports are in from the doctors who treated the nine waiting infants and children. During the week, one of the little infants expired from being too weak to recover from the complex surgery, underscoring the urgency of opening the new Heart Center and the planned satellite clinics which will speed the care to the population.
The new Heart Center is completed now, and the next three phases will see the equipment and furnishings being installed. Phase One will open one operating room and two ICU beds in June of this year (2013), and we will be sponsoring a mission from NY Presbyterian Hospital to visit for the week and celebrate the opening with a week of surgeries and on-going training of the local staff.
Two full containers of purchased and donated medical equipment and supplies are being shipped this month (March) to arrive in time for the opening. One container will go from Denver (Project CURE) and the other from New York. The containers include hospital beds, ICU beds, monitors, surgical insruments appropriately sized for infants and children, perfusion equipment, echocardiography equipment, and more. Also being shipped is a Smartboard unit, a gift from Ronald McDonald House Charities, to be put to great use in training and telemedicine programs we are initiating as part of our program. Needless to say, the local hospital staff are excited to be seeing their new Pediatric Heart Center take shape.
Thanks to our Global Giving donors our program is proceeding apace. Much needs to be done in preparation for the opening. We continue to need the help of our family of Global Giving Donors. Why not distribute this report to family and friends who might be willing to join with you in supporting Surgeons of Hope? Small donations add up.
Progress on our project in Nicaragua has two successes to report. The new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua is virtually completed now, with inside walls being painted in December, 2012. The coming months will see the acquisition and installation of modern hospital equipment to bring one of the two operating rooms and half of the facility to a ready-for-occupancy status for the targeted opening in spring of 2013. The role that our GlobalGiving donors are playing in this equipping and supplying stage is impressive. You have been with us from the early stages of construction, and you have supported our medical missions along with way, as the local team has increased in expertise and confidence in the complex procedures necessary for pediatric cardiac surgery. For that, we thank you, but there is more to be done if we are to succeed with the 2013 opening of the new Center.
The other success to be reported is the completion of our latest medical mission, led by Dr. Dominique Metras, a noted Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon from Marseille, France, and his truly international team. Dr. Metras gathered a team of colleagues from France (Paris, Marseille, and Bordeaux), Jerusalem, and Colombia to convene at La Mascota Children's Hospital in Managua. Dr. Metras reported smooth communication because a number of team members spoke fluent Spanish.
Surgery was performed on nine little patients (a tenth patient could not be accommodated for lack of the right equipment), five little girls and four little boys, ranging in age from nine months to 12 years. Because the local team has achieved a high leven of competency, the local staff surgeons at La Mascota led the surgery, and the visiting team collaborated and advised. This achievement is tremendous leap ahead in our program in Nicaragua.
Because of Hurricane Sandy, our team from Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York needed to reschedule its mission from November to February, 2013. They are all ready to go and eager to contribute their expertise in collaboration with the local team. This will be their first mission with Surgeons of Hope Foundation.
Remember that this progress is substantially supported by you, our GlobalGiving donors. Please remain with us as the active supporters and friends that you are, and let your friends know about us. We are a very small office in New York, with no budget allocation for public relations, so it is largely up to you to help us spread the word in conversation, and by Facebook and Twitter. There will be more positive news from us throughout 2013, so stay with us.
Grab an opportunity now to help us continue our momentum. Here is why you should read this and send a donation our way. If you make a donation on Wednesday, October 17, Global Giving will match your donation to our project by 30%! It is Global Giving Matching Day. Your donated dollars will work harder and go further toward our goal of providing desperately needed heart surgery to the poor children of Nicaragua.
Now, some news to let you know how we are doing with our project, having put your past donations to good use.
Our July, 2012, surgical mission provided 10 children with open heart surgery to repair their hearts. A volunteer team of doctors and nurses traveled from Children's Hospital of Colorado, with our President, Eduardo da Cruz, MD, who is Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Care at that hospital. All 10 children are well on the road to full recovery now and enjoying their lives as children with healthy hearts.
This week, a surgical team will travel from France (headed by renowned heart surgeon, Dominique Metras, MD, pictured in this report) to La Mascota Children's Hospital in Managua to operate on 10 more children while training the local team, all sponsored by Surgeons of Hope. Additional team members are traveling from Colombia and Israel to join the team, a truly international team. Our mission will be the subject of a film being prepared by Edwards LifeSciences in California, to celebrate our humanitarian actions in Managua.
In early November, a volunteer medical team will travel from Mt. Sinai Children's Hospital in New York City to La Mascota to continue the great work we are doing. A future report will let you know their experience.
Construction of our new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua will be completed in December, 2012, with opening in the spring of 2013. That new operating and training center will draw patients and medical professionals from throughout the region. Our work now is to equip and supply the new center to ready it for opening. No donation is too small (or too large) to help in that worthwhile effort.
Please join in the momentum. Send a donation our way on Wednesday, October 17.
Thanks to all of you Global Giving Donors!
This past week had several highlights, all connected with Surgeons of Hope's mission program to provide progress in life saving surgery in three ways: to cure (the immediate benefit), to train (knowledge for future use) and to build (quality infrastructure for sustainable progress).
Thanks to the dedication of an 11-member volunteer mission team from Children's Hospital Colorado, ten children with congenital heart problems received life-altering operations. Mission team leaders Eduardo da Cruz, MD, Cardiologist, and James Jaggers, MD, Cardiac Surgeon, collaborated with local doctors and medical professionals to accomplish the surgeries. For this mission, they were accompanied by a medical technician who made necessary equipment repairs as the need arose. The experienced team was further bolstered by the presence of many returning nursing specialists, anesthetist, and perfusionist, all dedicated to contributing to the mission's success.
This mission coincided with the 30th anniversary of the opening of La Mascota Children's Hospital, a public hospital which has been the site of Surgeons of Hope's mission program since late 2008. Having brought giant strides of progress to La Mascota, it was fitting that Surgeons of Hope's team was there for the celebration. But much still needs to be done.
Progress continues on construction of the new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua which will see the introduction of telemedicine capability, an advance in technology that will connect this new Center with the world of training and diagnostic capability throughout the region. The walls and roof have taken shape on the important new building which will stand adjacent to the present La Mascota and offer two operating rooms, intensive care unit, a catheterization lab, radiology room, pharmacy, and other features. Surgeons of Hope is working hard to equip and supply this new Center as a focus of 2012-13. When it is operational, the new Center will accomplish 300 surgeries each year and go a very long way toward bringing an equal opportunity for heart surgery to the poor children in a very poor country.
Philippe Lerch, Regional Director of Surgeons of Hope's Nicaragua Program, commented this week, "This mission was one of the most successful we have had so far. The [Pediatric Heart] Center is impressive."
If you have been following our progress right along, you will celebrate with us these tremendous accomplishments and the selfless dedication of our surgeons, cardiac specialists, and nurses who have repeatedly traveled to Nicaragua to further our mission program. Commenting this week, Dr. Jaggers praised the local surgeons for their professional competence and strengths in a collaborative setting.
There is more to be done, of course. Our Global Giving community stands with us, we know. This mission, the doctors had no access to ordinary scales in their operating facilities, so that they needed to guess the weights of their little patients in order to administer the correct anesthesia and dosages. We continue to work every day to fill in these gaps and to provide for the larger needs, too. That's where our Global Giving community can help us.
Thank you for all that you have done for us. Our appreciation is heartfelt. Keep our program in your thoughts and join us in celebrating this week's progress.
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