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Mending Kids: Missions
Mission: Costa Rica
While health care is free to children in Costa Rica, advanced techniques such as stent placement in teenagers is still relatively new. Stents provide an opening to increase blood flow and circulation and one teenager can have one or two stents placed to help ease breathing and circulation. Dr. Tim Casarez will be traveling on an inaugural trip to Hospital Nacional de Ninos in San Jose, Costa Rica to train local cardiologist Dr. Rafael Gutierrez on the placement of stents. This trip is one of two that will take place this year in an effort to treat all 9 children requiring this moderately complex surgical procedure.Learn More
Working with the local hospital in Mwanza, Save a Child's Heart, and Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome, Dr. Salvatore (Sasha) Agati, pediatric cardiac surgeon from Rome and his team will make their inaugural trip to Mwanza to help further train local cardiac surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Godwin, who just finished a 5 year training in Israel. Infants and children will receive open heart surgeries and the teams will work together to train and learn together.Learn More
Mission: Haiti is all about our on-going commitment to provide life-changing and life-saving help to the children of the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The earthquake hit four years ago, but close to half a million of displaced people are still living in shantytowns like Cite Soleil, without running water or sanitation. Sadly, even simple medical needs can kill due to the lack of access to care. The Children Most of the children we treat come from Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas. Some are orphans and some were displaced by the earthquake and live in camps with their family. Most all are impoverished, come from single family households and would most likely not get help, were it not for Mending Kids and other similar mission efforts. Progress The first two missions were strictly about training the OR staff and assisting the local surgeon, Dr. Jeudi, on emergency surgical cases. We provided mentorship while establishing post-operative protocols for the nursing care on the pediatric wards. Goals - Assess and improve the treatment and surgical care of children in Haiti. - Promote communication between pediatric anesthesia and pediatric intensive care. - Improve training of supervisory nursing care on the pediatric ward. - To provide a patient-centric environment that reduces pain and suffering and improves healing and psychological well-being of the children. Our goal is to continue this training until the local medical staff has gained the confidence to do these procedures without the support of International missions.Learn More
Mission: Ethiopia is all about love and mending and heart; lots and lots of hearts. And we are thrilled to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for our fourth pediatric cardiac mission trip at our home away from home on the horn of Africa: The Cardiac Center of Ethiopia, where we continue our on-going commitment to provide life-saving surgeries while training and empowering the local Ethiopian medical team to become self-sustaining. Ethiopia Bordered by Eritrea to the north, Somalia and Djibouti to the east and Sudan and South Sudan to the west, Ethiopia is believed to be the birthplace of man and where, Lucy, the oldest human fossil was found. More importantly, Ethiopia is a country of nearly 85 million without any comprehensive heart care program. This is a land where 1 in 100 children suffer from some form of congenital heart defect. In Ethiopia, there are physicians capable of diagnosing basic heart problems in children, but unlike any major city in the US and Europe, there is absolutely no congenital heart program. There are only 19 anesthesiologists for the entire country.The vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of children with heart problems in Ethiopia have no hope to live anything close to a normal life, and are destined to live a shortened life punctuated by repetitive illnesses. The Children We don't know why so many children suffer from congenital heart disease but approximately 8 out of 1,000 children suffer. About 1/2 of these children require a surgery or other procedure, such as an interventional catheterization at some point in their early life to correct the defect and allow them to live a normal life. The children we hope to mend will be arriving from the capital and from provinces all over Ethiopia, and come from poor families, most of whose parents are illiterate. Mission Goals The first two missions were strictly about open-heart surgeries. Last year, we added interventional cardiology to the table to provide mentorship in the Cath Lab. Our goal is to continue the training in interventional cardiology, open-heart surgery and pediatric anesthesia so that the local medical staff may gain the confidence to do these procedures without International missions to assist them. This year we will be adding an x-ray technician to our team to help support all facets of mentoring in the Cath Lab, which is an exciting development.Learn More
Mission: Guatemala is a shining example of our on-going commitment to provide life-changing and life-saving help to the children of a nation still recovering from a civil war nearly 20 years ago and a country where nearly half of its population is under the age of 18. In 2013, we sent three separate medical teams there to provide specialized surgical care to the most underserved segment of the population. The Children Our young patients come from all over Guatemala, some enduring long walks out of their mountain villages to reach roads in order to get rides into the capital and the Moore Pediatric Center. We don't know why so many have congenital birth defects but suspicions lie in some genetic corn strains that block the absorption of folic acid. Guatemala City The Republic of Guatemala is located in Central America and is one of the poorest countries in all of Latin America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north and El Salvador and Honduras to the south. Guatemala, loosely translated is known as The Land of Many Trees. No stranger to earthquakes and land slides during the rainy seasons; it is situated in a corridor between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean which also makes it prone to tornadoes. Progress Our first few missions have been about building our relationship and mentorship with Dr. Hernandez (who has provided us with valuable pre-operative, intra-operative and post-operative care) and supporting the work of Dr. Graciela Minucci, the only pediatric neuro-surgeon in all of Central America. Goals - Expand the clinical training of on-site providers. - Create partnerships with satellite clinics to enhance pre-op and post-op care. - Expand the scope to include higher complexity surgical cases such as congenital anomalies. - Create a center of pediatric neurosurgery excellence and refer patients there from all over Central and South America. - Continue the training until self-sustainment has been established without the need for assistance from missions such as ours.Learn More
As a result of a meeting through the Rotary Club of South Pasadena, Mending Kids joined forces with Dr. Luis Vasquez of the Chicago Rotary Club, who was overseeing the build of a large hospital in the remote area of Yantalo, Peru. Last year, general surgeon Dr. Dean Anselmo and anesthesiologist, Dr. Brian Kim, lead a team to perform pediatric surgeries for children who had been waiting a long time for surgical help. When the team arrived, they learned that the new hospital was not yet ready for them, so in a pinch, they enthusiastically traveled a few more hours to operate at another hospital. This year, the doctors are returning and are looking forward to getting settled into their new hospital home base in Yantalo and working with local surgeons and nursing staff to educate and train on techniques and after care.Learn More
Mission: Costa Rica
In partnership with the Colorectal Team from Nationwide Children's Hospital, Dr. Marc Levitt and his international team will be traveling to Hospital Nacional de Ninos in San Jose, Costa Rica to train local surgeons traveling in from all over Latin America. In addition to a surgical training conference on colorectal surgeries (mostly surgical care to children born without an anus), Dr. Levitt and his team will operate on several children requiring this advanced care and scrubbing in with surgeons who would like to add this type of surgical work to their local practice. The team also includes advanced nursing care for the bowel management and wound care these children need post operatively to be successful long term and to maintain independent bathroom habits.Learn More
Mission: China is all about hope, love and mending children's lives. The mission is also about our ongoing commitment to local sustainability by partnering with local surgeons who are interested in learning both open and minimally invasive procedures to correct anorectal malformations (ARMs). Since 2011, Mending Kids has transformed the lives of 35+ orphans in Luoyang, China, who otherwise would have remained un-adoptable because of their congenital birth defect. Luoyang, China Luoyang was a capital of China for multiple dynasties. It is located in Henan province, with a population around seven million people. The city is situated amid the banks of the yellow river and is considered a UNESCO world heritage site because of the Longmen Grottoes. The city is also famous for its cultivation of peonies. We are not certain why there are such a high number of children born with anorectal malformations. Although China's one-child policy (intended as a population growth control) is softening, to have a child born with an imperforated anus is considered the worst curse on a family, one that carries on for generations. This might explain why these children are abandoned and end up in orphanages. The Children All of the ARM children on our mission are orphans in the care of Maria's Big House of Hope. They all are living with colostomies performed emergently in the first few days of life to relieve the obstructed colon. Unfortunately, all of these ARM children have little to no hope of being adopted without the corrective surgeries we provide. Once a child's ARM is corrected, they are very likely to be matched with a "forever family" and have a chance at a healthy future. Progress From training one surgeon in a private operating room to now performing surgeries out of Luoyang First People's Hospital, we are now giving half a dozen local pediatric surgeons the opportunity to not only participate but lead laparoscopic procedures to correct ARMs. This past year we worked alongside the Luoyang Women's and Children's Hospital in partnership with Dr. Zhai, Dr. Yang and his pediatric surgical colleagues. Through an exchange of knowledge and experience, Mending Kids participated in a Regional Pediatric Teaching Conference, utilizing the latest telemedical and live-surgery support, broadcasting several surgeries to young and mid-career pediatric surgeons throughout the region. The conference drew a large audience, raised awareness, continued building trust and culminated in a new declaration by the Chief of Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Yang announced, "We will no longer council parents of newborns with complex ARMs to take their babies home to die, because we have nothing to offer them. We now know how to repair these conditions and can offer infants not only life-saving procedures, but a good quality of life, thanks to the training your team has provided for us." The Pena stimulator, along with a prototype of the new Kimble stimulator, both developed as a result of past missions, proved their value in making these surgeries more affordable. Of equal importance, post-operative bowel management care, which is critical to the recovery of these young patients, was also taught and emphasized at the conference, with the participation of Janet Kimble, RN, an expert in the field and a veteran of dozens of missions with Mending Kids. Her instruction manual was also translated into Mandarin.Learn More
Our Four Core Programs
Kids with complex cases are provided transportation and are aided by our partner hospitals in India, Israel & Canada.
Surgical teams and volunteers travel to developing countries to perform surgeries and build sustainable programs.
In the span of one day, there are up to 20 free surgeries performed by volunteer surgeons for American Kids.
Kids from outside the United States are flown here for complex surgeries and stay with volunteer host families.
Who We AreMending Kids provides life-changing surgical care to children worldwide. Over the years, thousands of children have received corrective, transformational surgeries that have given them a chance at longer, healthier and happier lives. Most of the surgeries we perform are to correct congenital heart defects, orthopedic abnormalities, severe scoliosis, and significant cranial facial deformities.
Words cannot express my feelings nor our thanks for all your help. You are all a blessings to our family. You are all in our hearts forever and we treasured the moment you are there for us in time of our difficulties. My heart feels with joy and happiness that there are kindhearted people like you who value life and a helping hand to those in need and a HUMAN ANGEL to Heinrick's life.- Heinrick's Mom, Philippines
My heart is so full of joy that l don't even know what to write anymore. God bless you, your team and all those that donate to make this possible.- Joshua's Dad, Nigeria
Thank you so much and Mending Kids, at large. May God bless you so much for giving my child hope and live a new life as other people.- Susan's Mom, Uganda