Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua

Feb 9, 2012

Thinking of Hearts on Valentine's Day

Emilie Carvello, MD, demonstrates CPR
Emilie Carvello, MD, demonstrates CPR

Love enters the heart in friendship's disguise.  Be a friend this Valentine's Day to a child who needs Surgeons of Hope to repair his or her young heart.  We are doing something new this very week, following our highly successful echocardiography training session which took place last October.

Our three-person mission is doing great things this week at La Mascota Children's Hospital.  Dr. Emilie Carvello from the University of Maryland Medical Center is joining with Clayton Dobronyi, RN, and Danielle Lucero, Sterile Process Educator, both from Children's Hospital of Colorado.  Together they are teaching the local hospital staff of doctors and nurses in intensive sessions about Basic and Advanced Pediatric Life Support and Sterile Processing.  After their first day, they report a large number of participants, all of whom are eager to learn and thoroughly engaged as students and trainers.  In addition to learning the techniques, they are learning how to teach those techniques to others.

Surgeons of Hope President, Eduardo da Cruz, Head of Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care at Children's Hospital of Colorado, said, "We are inducing a cultural change by integrating nurses into the project.  This is a new concept in Nicaragua."  And, nurses are working and learning together with the doctors.  Truly, we are training the trainers.

While you are thinking of love on Valentine's Day, why not make a donation?  Be that friend to a child's heart.  If you make the donation on behalf of someone else through Global Giving, your honoree will receive a lovely notice from Global Giving, thereby spreading the friendship and love around a bit.

Here are some instructions to get you started:

Donate In Honor or Memory of Someone

Whenever you make a GlobalGiving donation in someone else's name, they'll receive a card from GlobalGiving with the details of the goodness done in their name. Just select "Make this donation in honor of someone" during checkout, and you'll be prompted for further information.

On one of the Surgeons of Hope Project Pages, check the box "Make this Donation in Honor of Someone?" at checkout.

You will be prompted to indicate how you would like the card sent (e-mail or postal mail), the card design, and all recipient details. You also can enter a personal message to the recipient.

Preview: Once you have entered all information, you can preview the card to see an image of what the recipient will receive.

When you have completely filled out the fields, please be sure to click the orange "Save" button.

Local Doctors Learn to Train the Trainers
Local Doctors Learn to Train the Trainers
Local Doctors Practice Basic Life Support
Local Doctors Practice Basic Life Support


Jan 20, 2012

Tremendous Strides to be Made in 2012

ICU Nurse Natalie with Irma (3)
ICU Nurse Natalie with Irma (3)

Excitement is growing about this project, both in Managua where construction has started on the new Pediatric Heart Center adjacent to La Mascota Children's Hospital and at our partner children's teaching hospitals in the U.S. and Europe.  So many things need to come together in 2012 and they are targeted to do just that.

In advance of the opening of the new Center, Surgeons of Hope is providing training and professional development to the existing La Mascota staff of doctors and nurses.  Training of the people who will go on to teach others is an essential element.  Making that training available to an even wider, expanding population remains the driving goal toward success in narrowing the gap between medical care that is routinely available in the developed world and such care that cannot even be hoped for in the emerging world.  That's where Surgeons of Hope comes in.

So, what will 2012 hold? 

Building:  The new Pediatric Heart Center will take shape as a new building to hold the most modern medical equipment.  Surgeons of Hope will be raising the funds ($2M) to acquire that "sophisticated" equipment and to have it installed in the new Center, offering two operating rooms, a catheterization lab, 20 beds, and more.

Training:  During construction, Surgeons of Hope is sending smaller teaching teams from Children's Hospital Colorado (formerly known as Denver Children's Hospital) to provide practicum sessions to La Mascota staff and local medical students in Pediatric Life Support and in hospital hygiene/sterilization.  That week-long mission is scheduled to happen in February. 

Six selected La Mascota medical staff members are receiving continuing intensive training in university hospitals in Latin America where they are working side-by-side with surgical teams on location.  They will return to La Mascota in time for the opening of the new Center.  This aspect of their training will be complemented with observational rotations in three major US children's hospitals. 

Telemedicine:  Surgeons of Hope will develop three satellite clinics (starting with one and expanding to three) in Nicaragua in 2012.  Those clinics will provide diagnosis, prevention, and follow-up for children with cardiac disease, a model for future regional sites throughout Central America and the Caribbean.  These sites will be able to identify patients in need of surgery and send those patients to the new Center in Nicaragua.  Telemedicine will allow for low-cost training using electronic communication.  Surgeons of Hope will also develop a solid, workable program for enhanced routine training and conference capability.

Please understand that all of this humanitarian progress is accomplished by volunteer medical staff from U.S. and European children's teaching hospitals.  Upwards of 85 cents of every dollar we raise goes toward our program.

Your role as a loyal donor and the role of GlobalGiving in helping us to reach you and share our news is huge for us, as we are a small organization.  Your donation has been put to work in the past; now there is more work to do in 2012.  Please remain with us on our team.  We need you and the children of Latin America need you, too.

After your donation, there is something else you can do.  Use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about this GlobalGiving project and the great work being done in 2012.  Surgeons of Hope deserves your support and the support of your friends and family.  We remain so grateful to you, always.

New Center on Paper (21,740 Sq. ft.)
New Center on Paper (21,740 Sq. ft.)


Oct 31, 2011

Echocardiography Training Mission Done

Dr. Younoszai imaging a child
Dr. Younoszai imaging a child's heart

We are pleased to report that this week, a two-person training mission team, sponsored by Surgeons of Hope, visited La Mascota Children's Hospital, Managua, Nicaragua, to offer professional development to the local team on the subject of Echocardiography.  Using a practicum format, along with a lecture to a larger audience of medical students and professionals on Thursday, the team provided lots of practice to the local cardiologists in screening young patients.  Screening is the first step toward being scheduled for surgery.  Using hospital equipment supplied by Surgeons of Hope, and other teaching materials which the teaching team brought with them, the local team collaborated with the Surgeons of Hope team in using echocardiography to monitor the young heart patients, ranging in age from infants to 12.

Making up the team was Adel Younoszai, MD, Physician Educator in Cardiography from Children's Hospital Colorado (formerly known as Denver Children's Hospital) and Scott Kirby, Cardiac Sonographer, from the same renowned hospital. 

Once they have returned home from this extraordinary week, the team will provide a report on numbers of patients seen and screened, and the success of their training.  According to Dr. Younoszai's on-the-fly email reports early in the week, they were seeing "lots of pathology" in his work alongside the local cardiologists.  Surgeons of Hope president, Eduardo da Cruz, MD, replied with encouragement, telling them that they are working in a "different world and dimension" at La Mascota.  But, it is all to the good.

Surgeons of Hope this week acted in Haiti, providing financial support for three Haitian children to receive desperately-needed heart operations.  Lambert Clinic in Petionville, Haiti (near Port-au-Prince)  is the locale for the life-saving surgical intervention.  We were pleased to be able to help in this way in a situation where any progress is understandably very slow.


Sep 9, 2011

Thanks to All Who Helped Us Exceed our Goal

We are grateful to all who gave so generously during our August Global Giving Challenge.  Thanks to you, we not only met our goal, we exceeded it.  When it was all over, we discovered that we ranked 18th in the total amount of funds raised.  A very respectable showing.

But, more importantly, the funds will go directly to helping support our next mission to La Mascota Children's Hospital in Managua where children await the life-saving, life-altering surgery that our volunteer surgical teams bring.  The staff at La Mascota welcomes our collaboration with them, seeing the real impact that we bring to them and their ongoing work. 

In the next few months, while La Mascota undergoes some much-needed renovations to their operating areas, we will be sending training missions in specialized areas.  Doctors from Children's Hospital Colorado (formerly known as The Children's Hospital of Denver) whose specialties are echocardiography and sterilization will be conducting training at La Mascota.  Sessions will be attended by La Mascota medical personnel and students from the local medical university in Managua.

We applaud you for supporting our mission and the important work that we do in Nicaragua and soon in Haiti. Together with you, we are making a difference in the lives of needy children, as we seek to close the gap between health care available in the developed world and the health care which is so lacking in the poorer countries.

Thank you, again.  Your donation has made a difference.


Aug 19, 2011

Reducing Child Mortality Rates in Central America

Glacy (Age 2) getting her echo test
Glacy (Age 2) getting her echo test

The leading cause of infant and child mortality in Nicaragua is heart-related.  That's why Surgeons of Hope chose Nicaragua and found an ill-equipped but stalwart staff at La Mascota Children's Hospital in Managua where our program could be implemented.  Our surgical missions have cured more than 250 poor children and returned them to their villages and families.  Our surgical mission teams have partnered with La Mascota staff bringing them desperately needed equipment and supplies, along with professional training in modern surgical procedures.  We will soon begin construction on a new Pediatric Heart Center at La Mascota to that the progress will continue.  We are committed to narrowing the gap between medical care that is readily available in the U.S., and woefully deficient medical care in poor countries, right in our own hemisphere.

Only 3 pediatric heart surgeons serve all of Nicaragua.  Two of them are at La Mascota.  1,000 children's names are on a waiting list for heart surgery at La Mascota, a public hospital.  Some of the children become too weak to benefit from surgery, but their places are quickly taken by others.

At Surgeons of Hope, we knew that Global Giving would assist our efforts by providing a wider audience for our fundraising efforts, an ongoing activity.  You have already given generously, for which we remain grateful. 

We are hoping that you will help us to spread the word and get even more donations.  Please let your friends, family, and associates know about Surgeons of Hope and our Global Giving Challenge project. 

We will celebrate your efforts on our behalf.  Thank you. 

Little Glacy in Caring Arms
Little Glacy in Caring Arms


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Project Leader

Leila Hawken

New York, NY United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua