Dear Chenoa and the rest of the amazing group at Scanlan,
I apologize for not writing sooner. I actually contracted Covid -19 (for the first time) mid mission in the Dominican Republic. That put a bit of a damper on the mission on my end but I was luckily able to run it from the confines of my hotel room—thanks to good internet and WhatsApp! Being so busy really managed to keep my symptoms at bay—I just pushed on through the uncomfortable flu symptoms. Once I was home and healthy, I headed out to San Francisco to meet my new granddaughter so it’s been a busy but happy time! I meant to write you sooner but life got a bit hectic. I’m also deep into planning our cardiac mission to Cairo planned for October.
All that said, our first mission since Covid hit was a great success! We operated on 8 children, most of whom would not have survived if not for our team’s intervention, both in the operating room and the subsequent stay in the ICU. We also performed nine cardiac catheterizations in 3 days and two ablations were also performed.
Your surgical instruments were a huge hit. The state of their instruments is very poor. Unfortunately, the administration has not budgeted sufficiently for replacement and regular maintenance of the instruments on hand. Scissors are not well sharpened, forceps do not align; it was a challenge for our surgeon to work with their instruments, but luckily all went well. We have stressed the need for this in our post trip report. That said, you can imagine how excited their surgeon, Dr. Juan Leon-Wyss, was to receive your donation! (I have attached a photo below).
I am including a photo from the operating room. In the photo, Dr. Mark Galantowicz, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Leon Wyss are performing a truncus arteriosus repair on a 2.6kg patient. Mark is reconstructing the quadtricuspid neoaortic valve while Juan is preparing a bileaflet pulmonary artery conduit with extracellular matrix 2 ply. Both surgeons are using your superb Castroviejo needleholders. The surgery went flawlessly and Aisha is now three months old and safely at home with her parents. I am also attaching a photo of her in the ICU. I have asked the local team for a photo from her parents and will send it along as soon as I receive it. If you would like photos of some of our other patients, please let me know!
Not only were the instruments a great help during our mission, but they are a godsend to this cardiac program. Once again, I send my heartfelt thanks for all that Scanlan has done and continues to do to help so many of our young patients. You truly are “the good guys”!!!!
With great gratitude,