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Today marks Day 3 of Gift of Life International’s visit here in La Paz and the energy remains high! Two more children will have surgery today. Day shift team arrived at the hospital at 7:30 AM, and the first surgery began around 9:30 AM. Another day of creating opportunities for little hearts to live healthy lives!

We hold the donations we receive in high regard, recognizing their pivotal contribution to our mission of creating a significant impact. Each donation is carefully employed to foster positive change and enhance lives, mirroring the transformative work underway this week in La Paz!

Without the invaluable support of our exceptional partners, extending assistance to these children this week would not have been possible. We extend a huge thank you to our partners, including Gift of Life Rotary District 7490 and Corazones Chiquitos Bolivia.

Ephyril

Ephyril

This cutie is named Ephyril. She was born April 8th, 2023, making her just over one year old. Ephyril has one older sister. Karen, her mother, is a cleaner and her father, Paulino, works in transportation.

Two weeks after being born, Ephyril began sweating a lot and her lips and fingers turned purple. She first went to the general hospital, but they did not have a pediatrician who could look her over. Ephyril’s parents then took her to a private doctor, where they were told she had a heart murmur, but the surgery for her would be too expensive and they would not operate on her for this reason.

Finally, she was referred to Hospital del Niño and told about Gift of Life International. Ephiryl had her surgery for cor triatriatum today, and is currently recovering in the ICU with our team of talented nurses and physicians!

Ephiryl for her postoperative care.

Ephiryl for her postoperative care.

Here, Ephiryl is surrounded by doctors and nurses for a postoperative recap on her condition, and a discussion of the team’s plans moving forward. Bolivian pediatric cardiac surgeon, Dr. Ericka Perez Albrecht, observes the transfer of skills and knowledge at the bedside between her Bolivian team and the visiting Gift of Life team.

The second surgery today was on Ezequiel. Ezequiel was born August 22, 2022 and has 3 healthy older brothers. Yanini, his mother, is a housewife and his father, Cristian, works as a driver.

Ezequiel

Ezequiel

Ezequiel was a premature baby, and his mother suffered from preeclampsia. He was born with Down Syndrome and was colored purple. Ezequiel also required a colostomy soon after birth. During the tests for his colostomy, doctors realized he had a heart problem, one kidney was smaller than the other, and his lungs were not working properly. Ezequiel was put on oxygen, and though his lungs began to work better, his heart was still not working properly, making it continuously harder to breathe, and continuing the need for the oxygen.

Ezequiel had his heart surgery today and once he recovers will be able to comfortably do the things he loves like dance, listen to music, and play with his toys!

When working in a hospital with limited resources, creativity is essential! In order to keep patients laughing and their spirits high, nurse John Albers created this silly balloon person out of a surgical glove! He then drew a face and ears on it with a sharpie.

Glove man made by Nurse Delshay for Cristina

Nurse Delshay Honyoust uses a toy created from a surgical glove to entertain Cristina while she is healing after her surgery.

Cristina and Valentino, both patients from yesterday, got some good laughs and entertainment out of this new toy. Cristina even kicked it around in the air a couple of times! Another way our nurses and doctors have to get creative is with the lessons they are providing to the local nurses.

Blown up glove toy made for the kids in recovery.Dr. Gabe Owens uses drawings made with different colored sharpies to educate those around him. Using the color coding and having an image to refer to while he is teaching makes the experience more efficient and enjoyable for all involved!

Dr. Gabe Owens teaches nurses, residents, and attendings vital information about the conditions of the hearts of their patients and best practices on how to treat these patients post-operatively. This type of on-going skills transfer is critical to our strategic plan to move this Core Program towards sustainability and Legacy status. 

Dr. Gabe Owens and team

Dr. Gabe Owens reviewing vital patient information with the team.

After a bustling and fruitful Day 3, anticipate an update on the progress of Day 4!

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