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Photos Courtesy of Dr. Brad Taicher

Duke Anesthesiology Makes Medical Strides for Global Health

The ‘Gift of Life’ Mission

Mending Hearts and Saving Young Lives in the Philippines Congenital heart defects are the most common of all birth defects in America and in every country throughout the world. Each year, one million babies are born with a congenital heart defect worldwide. One tenth of those babies (100,000) will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more will not reach adulthood. Those numbers reveal a frightening future for thousands of children and their families worldwide. Congenital heart defects (CHD) are known as a serious and underappreciated global health problem, but doctors with Duke Anesthesiology are on a mission to change that. In September of 2014, about twelve

doctors and staff from different departments at Duke took their first step In September 2014, about 12 doctors and staff from Duke Anesthesiology visited the Philippines to toward making a global change. They save the lives of 10 children all suffering from advanced congenital heart disease. set out on a trip to the Philippines (called the Gift of Life Mission) to save the lives of ten children, as young as ten months old to 16 years old, all suffering from advanced congenital heart disease. Their mission? To perform two cardio pulmonary bypass operations a day on each of those children over a 10-day period at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Warwick not come without major obstacles. The Ames, MBBS, FRCA is one of those twelve facilities were limited so the Duke doctors doctors who was up to the challenge. took most of their supplies with them, “I’ve wanted to do mission work for a long time and while this wasn’t my first mission, but they had to leave behind their anesthesia machine. Once they arrived to the I saw this as a great opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of these families,” Philippines, they realized that the ventilator on the anesthesia machine they were says Dr. Ames. “Some families were waiting provided with did not work. And, they did for months outside of the hospital for mednot have ultrasound devices for putting in ical teams like ours to arrive. Many of them catheters, as they do in the United States. didn’t have anything to eat and the hospital Dr. Ames refers to it as practicing “old there was not handing out food while they school anesthesia.” stood in line. I felt a strong sense of urgenAfter ten long days, these Duke doctors cy to help these children beat the odds took home the realization that it is possible that were stacked against them.” to perform complex surgery in distant sites More than half of all children born with with very limited resources. In this case, a congenital heart defect will need to possible enough to save each one of those have at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime. But that is not always an option for the families of these children who don’t have the luxuries of first world medicine. This team’s surgical challenge in Manila did

“Hearts were mended in more ways than one during our trip.” Warwick Ames, MBBS, FRCA

Photos Courtesy of Gift of Life Mission

For nearly a decade, the Duke Global Health Institute has aimed to bring distinct knowledge and skill from every corner of Duke University to tackle some of the most significant global health issues we face today. Duke Anesthesiology’s doctors and staff are committed to actively taking mission trips to countries across the globe to achieve DGHI’s vision to meet the health challenges of today and tomorrow to achieve health equality worldwide. The Duke anesthesiologists highlighted in these stories broke medical barriers and saved children’s lives in two under-privileged areas of the Philippines and Guatemala. Duke doctors arrived to those countries with their world-class medical knowledge and supplies, but they walked away from their mission trips with more than they could have ever imagined.

Watercolor painted by Pete Morris

By Stacey Hilton

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics




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9/23/15 2:00 PM

2015 BluePrint  

Duke Anesthesiology Blueprint (Volume 6)

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