Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua

by Surgeons of Hope Foundation, Inc.
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua
Healing Children's Hearts in Nicaragua

 

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been widespread as Surgeons of Hope partnered with the local team at La Mascota in Managua. Progress would continue, if not through in-person medical training missions, then by effectively using medical technology to collaborate remotely.

The local medical team at La Mascota's Heart Center has begun participating in Surgeons of Hope's bi-monthly virtual case consultations and learning seminars. As part of the consultative sessions, the team is given the opportunity to review the diagnosis of a complicated patient case and discuss the best course of action with Surgeons of Hope's highly specialized pediatric cardiac volunteer specialists.

The most recent learning seminar the team participated in was an hour-long session about heterotaxy, a complicated congenital mis-arrangement of the parts of an infant’s heart. The session was presented by Dr. Teresa Álvarez, of the Gregorio Marañon University Hospital, based in Madrid, Spain. During the session, the team learned about the impact heterotaxy has on pediatric heart problems and the different techniques used to diagnose and correct the defects. 

It is a congenital heart problem often encountered at our pediatric heart center. In these difficult times when travel is curtailed, nonetheless progress has continued. All are looking forward to a future when actual humanitarian missions can resume in person.

The children who are continuing to receive heart surgery from the local team join us in celebrating the continuing support of our GlobalGiving partners. They and we remain ever grateful.

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Little patient a year after her surgery
Little patient a year after her surgery

In spite of the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 onslaught, along with a brutal hurricane season, Surgeons of Hope Foundation has remained focused on helping provide progress on the medical front and relief on the humanitarian front.  Our program at our Pediatric Heart Center in Managua, Nicaragua continues strong and firmly on course.

Through the constant hard work of Dr. Gerardo Mejia, who has remained steadfastly devoted to our mission at his hospital we built in Managua, working as its capable liaison with Surgeons of Hope, the children are receiving the care they need. His sense of purpose is an inspiration to his medical staff and a source of comfort to those little patients and their families.

Reporting on the ravages of the recent hurricanes, Dr. Mejia wrote, “It has been terrible, both at the hospital and personally as a Nicaraguan citizen caring deeply for his country and its people.” In addition to infrastructure damage, there have been dramatic landslides and loss of life.

Thankfully, the Pediatric Heart Center escaped damage and the little patients continued to receive care without delay or postponement as Dr. Mejia remained close by.

Our GlobalGiving donors, both first-time and those who have continued their support over the years, are key to the life-altering progress within the Heart Center.  This week, Dr. Mejia let us know that his local medical team at the Heart Center have accomplished dozens of surgeries on their own even during the pandemic.  About half of the surgeries use the complex external circulation machine (where the child’s heart is removed) for the surgery. This is truly developed-world care.

With Giving Tuesday coming up next week and the promise that all donations will receive a portion of the GlobalGiving matching funds allocation, please think of Surgeons of Hope and Dr. Mejia’s devotion to our Heart Center.  He writes of his need for monitors, ventilators, an anesthesia machine, and always the smaller supply items.

Your GlobalGiving donation of any amount will encourage the progress that Surgeons of Hope and Dr. Mejia are bringing to the children of Nicaragua.

The joy of childhood
The joy of childhood
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Little Rosaura recuperated nicely with Grandma
Little Rosaura recuperated nicely with Grandma

Infants and children healing after open-heart surgery and other heart-related procedures need nutritional meals in order to regain their strength. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been severe in Latin America, leading Surgeons of Hope to act in support of the nutritional needs of our little patients, now recuperating at home, but surrounded by catastrophic poverty within their villages.

Surgeons of Hope recognized the need to augment our healing support early on in the pandemic and we initiated partnerships with local food and supply channels to see that our patients and their families had access to nutrition and sanitization.

Our Pediatric Heart Center in Managua has continued to offer open-heart surgeries, even  with difficulty in obtaining medicines and supplies.  In June there were 5 surgeries performed, all emergencies.  Dr. Ramirez has described incidence of multi-inflammatory syndrome brought on by the virus and he has provided skilled treatment in consultation with our SoH President, Dr. Eduardo da Cruz.

Thanks to you and our loyal GlobalGiving donors our efforts in Nicaragua continue to turn a very bad pandemic impact into a good humanitarian impact. With the help of Super Express in Nicaragua, we have provided food and hygiene packages to our patients and their families throughout the country. The healing has continued with your help. And, thanks to a single donation of $800, we bought external pacemaker threads (lead wires), essential elements for open heart surgeries at our Heart Center.

We remain grateful for single donations of any size. Recurring monthly donations help us to plan our programs and implement longer-range strategies. But either way, you help us to turn a very bad pandemic impact into a better, more hopeful, future. 

Grateful for donations of food and supplies
Grateful for donations of food and supplies
Donated food and supplies are welcome
Donated food and supplies are welcome
Countering the bad with the good
Countering the bad with the good

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Little Zamara (14 mo.), Managua; outcome excellent
Little Zamara (14 mo.), Managua; outcome excellent

As we at Surgeons of Hope continue to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, our Pediatric Heart Center in Managua has managed to continue to serve little patients with congenital or acquired heart problems. The dedicated local team started the year off strong, averaging 14 open heart surgeries per month. We are inspired by their work.

As our loyal GlobalGiving donors, we know you join us in applauding the service of our Managua medical professionals. 

After some disappointing weeks of equipment breakdown, the catheterization lab has now been repaired and Surgeons of Hope is working with our medical volunteers and partners to get an on-site pediatric cardiac catheterization team fully trained. The Heart Center has selected one of its staff, Dr. Ramirez, a pediatric cardiologist, for intensive training to perform pediatric cardiac catheterization procedures. Think of the help it will be to the little patients awaiting catheterization procedures.

Following an early-March meeting with top health officials in Managua, Surgeons of Hope has been tasked with guiding the development of a national oximetry program that would ensure that every Nicaraguan newborn is screened for heart disease soon after birth. Doing so would lead to a reduction of deaths caused by congenital heart disease, the leading birth defect in newborns.  

We depend on your generosity as a GlobalGiving supporter to help us to continue our very real progress in Nicaragua.

Heydi, 10, from Chinandega is better after surgery
Heydi, 10, from Chinandega is better after surgery

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Nurse Ana Rosa in ICU
Nurse Ana Rosa in ICU

Surgeons of Hope is looking ahead to continuing progress at our Pediatric Heart Center in Managua.  Our vision for 2020 is clear.  

In early January we will receive a regular periodic report from Dr. Mejia, Director of the Heart Center, describing the daily operations and how Nicaraguan children and their families are finding skilled help for congenital and acquired heart problems. In every case, operations or non-surgical solutions are provided to them free-of-charge.

Please understand that finding first-world care in their own country meant that they could remain in their home country without needing to travel on foot or by bus for thousands of miles hoping to obtain that care.

Our plans for 2020 will bring updates in training for the local medical team operating the catheterization department at the Heart Center, and in the spring, nurses will travel to the children’s hospital in Madrid to receive intensive training. Our team of volunteers from Spain have worked with us frequently to provide training for our Managua team.

You and our loyal GlobalGiving donors have supported our program from the start. The very real difference that you have made is measured in successful surgeries and continuing training that combine to make lasting progress.   

Thank you for keeping our vision focused and our progress clear. We will keep you informed throughout 2020.

Britany being evaluated
Britany being evaluated

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Organization Information

Surgeons of Hope Foundation, Inc.

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Leila Hawken
New York, NY United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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