Surgeons of hope

Date: 1/1/13
Principal Researchers: da Cruz, E. Location: Nicaragua

Eduardo M. da Cruz, Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Cardiology & Intensive Care), Associate Medical Director for the Heart Institute and Head of the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine is the President and Chair of the Board of Surgeons of Hope Foundation (SoH), a United Nations-affiliated Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to the care of indigent children with congenital and acquired heart diseases in low income countries. He has developed and implemented a project at the Hospital La Mascota in Managua, Nicaragua since 2008, in collaboration with other leaders from Children’s Hospital Colorado, the members of SoH’s Board and National and International experts in the field, and in partnership with multiple organizations, including project CURE, based in Denver. The project has provided equipment and disposables, trained the local interdisciplinary team (local training, multiple medical and surgical missions throughout the year, training of the local leaders in reference centers in Latin America), and has built a state-of-the-art Pediatric Cardiac Center (in collaboration with the Nicaraguan and the Spanish Governments) that was opened in June 2013. This center includes an outpatient clinic and an in-patient area with critical adjacencies consisting of 2 operating rooms, 1 cardiac catheterization laboratory, 1 anesthesia suite, a 9 bed ICU, a 14 bed cardiac ward, and facilities for patient families. The program is evolving towards self-sustainability  as it strives to become a regional reference for the management of cardiac patients, and is currently developing peripheral clinics for the identification of new patients, prevention of rheumatic fever and education regarding prevention of cardiovascular disease, and follow-up of surgical patients. A low-budget telemedicine network that will allow the liaison between the peripheral clinics, the Hospital La Mascota and centers in the USA and in Europe is being developed, as well as the concept of Artificial Intelligence for humanitarian purposes. The near future will bring expansion of the satellite clinics towards other Central American countries with the objective of centralizing interventions in Managua, where it is expected that the local team will be proficient to manage the most common diseases within 10 years. SoH has also successfully intervened in Costa Rica where current surgical and interventional outcomes are comparable with those in the USA, and is also working on the inception of new projects in other countries in Latin America (Panama, Peru, Paraguay). These projects have no end date. Dr. da Cruz can be contacted at eduardo.dacruz@childrenscolorado.org.