“The trip to Christmas Island was phenomenal. The fact that we were able to see 700+ patients in essentially five days was, none the less, quite an undertaking.
Our team worked well together and we had tons of fun getting to know one another.
I think the best part of the trip was the last day we were there. We all considered it our “light day,” we only had 95 patients!
At the end of that day we were able to sit down and see who “won the lottery”… a life-saving trip to Texas for surgery.
It was great also to see our old patients who came to Dallas for their procedures in 2009. They all looked fantastic and you could tell they felt great as well.
It is very rewarding to know that my insignificant participation in Pacific Islands Medical Aid can improve the quality of life and bring true happiness to so many.
I can’t wait for my next trip! There is still so much to do…. The numbness in my left hand has finally gone away ( too many echos) and Dr. Fyfe’s hearing has come back (stethoscope in his ears too long).
It was great.
“The heart team representing Cardiac Associates of Dallas and the Heart Hospital Baylor Plano returned to Christmas Island to follow up on the 12 patients who had curative surgery in 2009.
They all appear healthy with improved quality of life and no concerns or complications.
The ravages of rheumatic fever due to untreated Strep throat are most concerning in pregnant women. One such woman almost died during childbirth and will require heart valve replacement.
We elected on this visit to screen all teenage girls for this potential complication and performed heart checks and limited ultrasounds on more than 500 children from the middle and high schools.
We identified one such girl and another young boy with unrecognized congenital heart defect.
In addition, the local doctor has identified other children and adults with heart disease.
In total, we have identified a further seven who need heart procedures and we are in the process of arranging their surgeries here in Texas.
All together, over 700 people were examined in the five days on Christmas Island. A number of further potential problem cases were identified for follow-up on future visits.”
PIMA’s cardiac team has returned home from Christmas Island in Kiribati after seeing more than 700 patients in just one week and identifying seven who need life-saving heart surgery.
Heart Team Sees 700 Patients
The team, under the leadership of cardiologist Dr. Alistair Fyfe of Cardiology Associates of Dallas, Texas, screened all adolescents attending school on the island, and saw more than 200 adults in their short visit.
Of particular concern are youngsters with heart disease, likely the result of earlier untreated rheumatic fever, Dr. Fyfe said.
Of those requiring heart surgery, one is a ten year old boy with a heart murmur and a recent onset of heart failure; another is a 12 year old boy with an enlarged heart and 16 year old girl who needs surgery as soon as possible, team members said.
“We need to go to work right away to help make arrangements for these patients to come to the U.S. for life-saving care,” said PIMA president Carlton Smith. “Let’s pull out all the stops.”
He said team members who worked tirelessly to screen the patients included Dr. Fyfe, Cardiac Nurse Denni Lozos, R.N., B.S.N., from the Baylor Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas; Cardiac Nurse Deanna Holick, R.N., B.S.N. from the Heart Hospital, and ultra-sound technician Beaux Seabury of Cardiology Associates.
“They all gave up their valuable time to come to the island to help, and rank at the top of any list of compassionate volunteers,” Smith said.
“They are great.”
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