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April 17th, 2024 marks Gift of Life International’s 4th day in Bolivia. As the team entered Hospital del Niño this morning, the air was full of energy. Feelings of hope, perseverance, and determination filled the air due to the success of the previous few days. Let’s keep the positive energy going!

The generosity we receive through donations holds immense significance, as it serves as the cornerstone of our mission to enact substantial change. Every contribution is meticulously allocated to instigate positive transformations and uplift lives, echoing the impactful endeavors unfolding this week in La Paz!

The unwavering support of our remarkable partners is indispensable. Their collaboration is the catalyst that propels our efforts to aid these children forward. We extend our profound gratitude to esteemed partners like Gift of Life Rotary District 7490 and Corazones Chiquitos Bolivia for their invaluable assistance.

Fanny’s Message of Resilience: 

Fanny

Fanny

The first surgery today, and the fifth patient of the week, was Fanny. Fanny is a four year old from El Alto. Her mother, Elba, is a toothbrush vendor and her father, Drobert, is a driver.

Ever since Fanny was in her mother’s belly, doctors knew she had a heart defect. She went to get checked out at another hospital, was told what was wrong, but was then told that this hospital would not cover her surgery because it was too expensive for them. Without the surgery, Fanny has a hard time walking long distances, gets tired easily, and her lips and fingers turn blue! She has not been able to gain weight or grow, either.

Fanny and her family heard about the Gift of Life International program at Hospital del Niño last year, but the week for surgery was full. Her and her family waited until this year to come back, and they got in! Fanny’s life will be changed after this surgery because she will finally be a normal little girl who can play for as long as she wants, and her parents will no longer have to worry about her health.

Valery’s Story of Hope:

Valery

Valery

This is Valery! Valery was our second surgery today and sixth patient for the week. She’s a nine month old girl who was diagnosed with a heart defect called a VSD when she was born. She had a hard time breastfeeding and was very tired and sweaty due to this condition.

After two days at the hospital after she was born, she was able to drink formula as well as breastfeed. Valery can now eat solid food, but despite her ability to eat more easily, she cannot seem to gain weight and grow.  Her mother, Ruth, was referred to Hospital del Niño. Once here they were told about the Gift of Life International program. Valery’s mother had to stop going to work because of her condition. The surgery provided by Gift of Life will not only change the life of Valery, but her family as well. Valery will finally be able to laugh, grow normally, and stop sweating as much!

Dr. Ericka Perez, Dr. Jesus Choque and Dr. Daniel Velez perform surgery on Fanny.Dr. Ericka Perez, Dr. Jesus Choque and Dr. Daniel Velez perform a Tetralogy of Fallot surgery on Fanny. Tetralogy of Fallot is a heart defect made up of four different heart problems: ventricular septal defect, overriding aorta, pulmonary stenosis and right ventricular hypertrophy. These problems result in cyanotic, or blue, skin on babies because of a lack of oxygen.

Everyday, our team of surgeons spends multiple hours in the OR performing life-changing surgeries on local children. Dr. Ericka Perez, the local pediatric cardiovascular surgeon and chief of pediatric cardiac surgery here at Hospital del Nino in Bolivia, Dr. Jesus Choque, pediatric cardiovascular surgeon in training, and Dr. Daniel Velez, a cardiovascular surgeon from Phoenix Children’s Hospital, work as a team to provide the best care they possibly can to these patients.

Gift of Life International’s goal with these surgeries is to provide opportunities and empowerment to the entire team involved. This includes the surgeons, perfusionists, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, intensivists and nurses! We are so grateful for the entire Bolivian and visiting teams who are eager to make such drastic changes in the lives of the precious little children in need. 

Cristina

Cristina

Valentino

Valentino

Sweet Cristina and Superhero Valentino, who both had their hearts healed on Monday, are doing so well that they were moved from the ICU to the general ward today to continue their recovery to a healthy future.

The Gift of Life International program would not be successful without the local nurses. Their determination and dedication to this program is just as important as our volunteers. Soledad Etelvina Quispe has been an intensive care unit nurse here at Hospital del Niño for 13 years and has a special interest in cardiac patients thanks to GOLI!

 

Soledad Etelvina Quispe, pictured on the left, with a patient’s mother at Hospital del Niño.

Soledad Etelvina Quispe, pictured on the left, with a patient’s mother at Hospital del Niño.

During the first Gift of Life International training visit in 2019, the Hospital del Niño ICU saw their first cardiac patient. Soledad said that is when she decided that what they need to do for these patients is so special. Soledad said she enjoys being a nurse because she gets to work side by side with the kids, and she enjoys how much they depend on her. 

This is Soledad’s 10th time doing a training visit with Gift of Life, and she especially values the education she has obtained from the program. Soledad mentioned her admiration of visiting nurse John Albers and how much she has learned from him alone! She shared her favorite memory from her nursing career with us: “During the last Gift of Life mission, one father asked me to work for twenty four hours instead of twelve because he liked me as his child’s nurse so much!” 

John Albers (2nd from left) provides training to Bolivia ICU nurses during the January 2024 training visit.

John Albers (2nd from left) provides training to Bolivia ICU nurses during the January 2024 training visit.

Soledad also mentioned that because of Gift of Life International and their Humanized Care Program, she saw how important the relationships between parents and nurses are and has since implemented these strategies more into her routine as a nurse. We are so lucky to have such a talented and devoted team here at Hospital del Niño that can work together to make these children’s lives of higher quality! 

More to come tomorrow for our 5th Day in Bolivia!

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