More than 40 lives have been saved to date by our Pacific Islands Medical Aid heart surgery program, thanks our donors, the leadership of cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. David Moore of Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas and dozens and dozens of great volunteers.
What began as an outreach to Christmas Island in the isolated nation of Kiribati several years ago has grown to encompass the wider island nation of 33 islands in the Central Pacific where many young patients suffer with heart valve disease, brought about by untreated rheumatic fever when they were very young.
“Among all of the medical programs we have undertaken,” I think we are most proud of the heart surgery initiative,” said Carlton Smith, PIMA president.
With the help and support of the Kiribati Ministry of Health, our team has visited the islands with diagnostic tools to identify the most urgent cases and arrange for them to be brought to the U.S. for open heart surgery, Carlton said. Team members, led by Dr. Moore, include cardiac sonographer Michael Rampoldi of Baylor Scott White and nurse Amy W. Moore.
Your donations have allowed us to provide housing, at Homewood Suites in Plano, meals and local transportation, while dozens of supportive surgeons working with Dr. Moore and medical professionals at Baylor Heart Hospital have pulled together to make this happen.
“It is our hope to be able to return early next year to Christmas Island and neighboring isolated… and seldom visited… outer islands of Tabuaeran and Teraina,” Carlton said.