June 2021 Mission
Team Members: Carl Turissini MD, Greg Simokonis, Brenda Marie Houde RCIS, Mike Mazzini, MD and Luis Horta, RN.
Boston cardiac foundation is proud to accomplish our first mission to Haiti in June of 2021.
This year’s mission included implanting lifesaving permanent pacemakers to the poor patients who could not afford this care and supplying the local hospital with emergency medications for acute care. Besides lectures on heart disease, we trained the local staff in up-to-date techniques. Our 5-person team performed this mission during the difficult time of Covid pandemic.
This mission was coordinated by Dr Carl Turissini and Ms. Brenda Houde RCIS. We are very thankful for the help we have received from Dr Torres and Dr Harold Previl, MD Hospital CEO from Haiti. We were fortunate to have Dr Mike Mazzini from MGH, an expert in electrophysiology, Luis Horta, RN and Greg Simokonis from Abbott Medical.
The Boston Cardiac Foundation is a non-profit organization that brings medical technologies and services to less developed countries around the world. The BCF team, made up of physicians, nurses, and technologists, performs cardiac procedures such as pacemaker surgery and coronary stenting and angioplasty free of charge for patients who can’t afford the lifesaving treatment. Members of the BCF team have been traveling around the globe on charitable missions for over 30 years. The BCF motto is ‘helping one heart at a time’.
The BCF team has made numerous missions to Africa, and became the first medical team to implant free Defibrillators for hearts in any public hospital in Ethiopia. Heart Defibrillators are life saving devices for the patients with decreased function who are at risk for sudden death. In addition, the team performed pacemaker operations, coronary stenting and angioplasty and helped advancement of cardiac care by educating local doctors to aid those in need. This included education for pacemaker insertions, Balloon angioplasty, ICU rounds and follow-up clinics, while teaching local staff future follow-up practices. The team included highly trained staff from MGH EP lab to help us perform the lifesaving defibrillators in Africa for the poor.
Boston Cardiac Foundation team members have performed over 400 pacemaker implantations in India alone and over 300 cases in Paraguay and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ability to perform these procedures is due to the support from our communities both in the US and in India, as well as generous donations made by the support from Abbott Medical and Medtronic. Several companies have donated over 4 million dollars in equipment and supplies to sustain our efforts around the globe.
The 2018 October mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was also a very successful one. The BCF team performed numerous procedures. For the first time we were able to perform defibrillators to the poor in Ethiopia with help from Dr. Leon Ptazsek from Mass General Hospital. We are very thankful for the efforts and help from Dr. Carl Turissini who coordinated coronary angioplasty and stenting. Patients with pacemakers from prior years received a check-up to ensure their device was operating properly.
“For over 30 years I’ve gone on missions to help the poor and our team members have implanted 700 pacemakers in those who otherwise could not afford this lifesaving procedure,” Dr. Midha said. “It makes a big impact on people’s lives and that gives me the energy to go forward.”
Acknowledgements and upcoming missions:
Our future missions are to New Delhi and Meerut, India next year. We plan to go back to Haiti this fall to help many more indigent patients. We appreciate the support we have received from Abbott Medical and Medtronic, MAP International, Ethicon and Merit Medical systems.
BCF greatly appreciates the donations from so many of our friends, physicians and golfers who have supported us over the past several years. In partnership with all our local and regional partners, we hope to support heart healthier lives around the world.