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.
Mother's Day is fast approaching (May 13). We have a way for you to honor her this year. Why not give the gift of generosity? Make a contribution on your mother's behalf to help save a child's life and bring unspeakable joy to that child's mother! By giving to our project in your mother's name, you and she will help to overcome gaps in access to health care in a developing country.
Thanks to Global Giving, you can make a donaton in your mother's name to either of our two projects leading up to Mother's Day. Global Giving will send her an e-card or a print-at-home card, making your donation to Surgeons of Hope the perfect Mothers' Day gift.
Contribute on your mother's behalf using this link which will open our gift card page at Global Giving:
As an update, our new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua is taking shape as the walls grow higher during construction. We are now working to secure funding for equipping the new Center with the latest in modern surgical equipment for the two operating rooms, the Intensive Care Unit, the medical ward and the outpatient area. Installation of telemedicine capabilities will mean that training and consultations, linking the best children's hospitals in the developed world with La Mascota, will be an everyday fact. Our surgical training missions are continuing and local hospital staff are continuing their advanced studies, all thanks to Surgeons of Hope and the local health ministry.
There is one child, however, who cannot wait for her surgery as her heart condition is calling for immediate action. So, little Camila (2 years of age) will be traveling all the way from Nicaragua to New York City to receive her heart operation at New York Presbyterian Hospital in the coming weeks. Surgeons of Hope is supporting her trip. Your contribution in your mother's honor can help with that special project, as well as helping to continue our regular all-volunteer missions.
GlobalGiving Will Match Your Donation on March 14!
The walls are going up on the new Pediatric Heart Center of Nicaragua and Surgeons of Hope is turning our attention to finding the sophisticated modern medical equipment and supplies to make the new Center function as an extraordinary state-of-the-art facility. Our next surgical missions for 2012 are being assembled as training elements continue, all timed to be ready for the Center’s grand opening in early 2013. It is a lot of work for a small foundation. You have contributed in the past year by helping to bring delicate heart surgery to the poor young children who patiently await help from our surgeons, teamed with the local medical staff at La Mascota Children’s Hospital in Managua. How important your help has been to us and to the children.
Every step we take contributes toward the realization of the success of the new Heart Center as a surgical and learning center for the region. The children we have helped and that you have helped will be invited to join with us to celebrate the opening of this new era in pediatric cardiac care in Central America.
Throughout 2012, Surgeons of Hope Foundation will, of course, continue with surgical training missions during which we select children from the waiting list and provide heart surgery to them free of charge, with your help and the help of others like you who see that generosity can bring exponential benefit.
On Wednesday, March 14, GlobalGiving.org is matching at 30% all online donations up to $1,000 per donor per project! $50,000 is available in matching funds, but only on March 14. Once these matching funds are used, no more matching funds will be applied. Therefore, if you intend to give, please plan to give early in the day, The Bonus Day offer begins at 12:01 AM on March 14 and continues all day, until the matching funds run out. In addition to the 30% match, GlobalGiving is offering a $1,000 bonus to the project that raises the mostfunds that day and a $1,000 bonus to the project that receives donations from the most individual donors!
Please donate to our project, Healing Children’s Hearts in Nicaragua and Haiti, and support the children awaiting heart surgery! Your help is urgently needed and much appreciated by Surgeons of Hope and by the children we help!
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:
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.
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.
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