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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