In its most recent medical mission trip of 2015, our team traveled to Ecuador and Guyana to aid children in need and even made history.
Throughout the duration of our one-week stay in Ecuador, our team of volunteers came from a wide range of countries, including Canada, Chile, Belgium, France, Portugal and the U.S. Under the leadership of volunteer surgeon Dr. Caputo, we were able to operate on 11 brave children ranging in age from 4 months to 15 years old.
This mission marked our 22nd trip to Ecuador, with a total of 442 operations. Along with operations, we continued our mission of providing education to the local staff. Each team member provided hands on teaching, and the ICU nurses received a lecture on Newborn Care in the Cardiac ICU.
“As after every trip, I am going back home thinking how amazing it is to put together random people and build a team, work together and get the best of everyone in order to help children! As always, I loved it,” said volunteer Dr. Ana Diaz of SICK Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada.
For two weeks, Dr. Soto led our incredible team of 18 volunteers from the U.S., Canada, Chile, Norway and the United Kingdom, including a doctor that completed his medical schooling in Georgetown, Guyana and went on to complete his residency in the same hospital that the ICHF team worked from. He now resides and works in the United Kingdom, and he was thrilled for the opportunity to participate and give back in such a powerful and exciting way that will help the children in his home country for years to come!
On Tuesday, April 28, the first ever open
heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect was performed in Guyana when 21-year-old Naticia Ramcharan’s Atrial Septal Defect was repaired. Naticia did great and was discharged from the hospital on Friday of the same week. Throughout our inaugural stay in Georgetown, we performed 13 surgeries and 6 cardiac catheterizations.
Great strides were made on this successful mission trip. One volunteer noted: “We started an ICU from nothing, with the infrastructure given to us by Roy, which was then combined with the hard work of the local staff and volunteers. That is remarkable! When surgeries were cancelled because of water coming through the pipes on Monday, we trembled…but no one gave up! Through creativity, ingenuity, hard work, ethics and commitment, we pulled through it and the operating room became operational. We opened the cardiac cath lab on holidays; we got stuck in dark elevators; we had no X-ray for 10 hours; labs did not come back in relevant times…but we did it!”
In addition to our incredible volunteers, this life-changing trip would not have been possible without the help of our wonderful supporters. If you feel inspired to support ICHF, we encourage you to check out the upcoming medical volunteer and non-medical volunteer opportunities that ICHF has to offer, as well as ways you can donate to make more surgeries like these possible.
We plan to visit Ecuador three more times this year – the next trip will take place from June 20 to July 4. We will also visit Guyana two more times this year, starting with our trip to Georgetown from July 4 to 18. Stay tuned for more trip updates!