Our Pacific Islands Medical Aid heart surgery program is now well underway, with five patients saved and 46 to go!
In early February, we brought five patients from the island of Tarawa in the central Pacific island nation of Kiribati for open-heart surgery at Baylor Scott and White Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas. Surgeries were all successful and patients have now returned home. They can expect a full life, according to our heart team leader, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. David Moore, MD.
A total of 51 patients were identified needing life-saving surgery when our PIMA heart team traveled to Tarawa and the neighboring island of Tabiteuea North last October, where the team examined more than 400 showing signs of heart trouble.
Thankful patients — Just prior to returning to their home island in late February_ patients thank everyone involved for saving their lives. Posing in this _cake photo_ with the patients is team leader Dr. David Moore_ MD.
Thankful patients – Just prior to returning to their home island in late February, patients thank everyone involved for saving their lives. Posing in this ‘cake photo’ with the patients is team leader Dr. David Moore, MD.
Team members included Dr. Moore, cardiac sonographer Michael Rampoldi, nurse Amy Moore and Carlton Smith, PIMA president.
“It’s a big effort, but we are committed to bringing all remaining heart patients to the U.S. for surgery to save these lives, with the help of our donors (you), Baylor Heart Hospital, Dr. Moore and his team of heart surgeons at Cardiac Surgery Specialists in Plano, the Kiribati Ministry of Health, and others,” Carlton said.
“Personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Fiji (the closest to Kiribati) have also reached out to help by assisting us in getting U.S. visas for the patients in an expedited way, for which we are very grateful,” Smith said.
Six more ill islanders are scheduled to arrive in Plano early this month, to be followed by four to six patients each month until the job is done.
Please help by donating for housing, meals, local transportation, visa fees and other expenses. We need all the help we can get, Carlton said, where 100 percent of money donated will go directly to help the heart patients.