Egypt March 2020
The Heart Trust team completed an extraordinary open heart mission to Cairo in March 2020 but it was not without challenges. It was the first time that Heart Trust ambitiously offered our team's services to two hospitals concurrently in one city. We began at Abou el Reesh al Yabani (aka Cairo University Specialized Pediatric Hospital). We operated for 4 days and, with the local team, performed 10 highly complex OH surgeries on children ranging from neonate to age 7. Our CICU physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists teamed up with the local intensive care team to care for the post op patients for another 4 days. All team members made a significant impact, and, due to cancellations caused by the COVID-19 , we were understaffed but our incredible team stepped up. Special kudos to the respiratory team who tirelessly taught the local CICU, and introduced them to BIPAP. Our bio-med engineers worked constantly at Abou El Reesh for the entire mission, leaving behind a multitude of repaired equipment.
The surgical team moved to Al Nas Hospital on Day 5, with the hopes of starting surgery. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created a major obstacle: President Trump's directive regarding travel and Egypt being listed as a Level 2 country, necessitated a major change in our plans. Our team would have to return back to the U.S. a week earlier than planned. We spent the next two days working side by side with the Al Nas surgical and cardiac intensive care team. Our policy is not to operate without providing post operative care to our surgical patients. As a result, our surgeon, Dr. Mark Galantowicz, observed and consulted in 5 successful surgeries over the course of the next two days. Together our ICU physician, nurses and respiratory therapists worked with the local team at Al Nas. Even given the short visit, the local team felt very positively impacted by Heart Trust's presence. We look forward to our next visit to complete our objectives with the Al Nas Team!