In conjunction with providers through Gift of Life International, I plan to join a team aimed at building a cardiac surgery program in Georgetown, Guyana. As a pediatric cardiac fellow anesthesia at Duke University, my goal is to use previous experiences in global health to help build a sustainable cardiac anesthesia presence and program in Guyana. While much work has already been accomplished in Guyana, the program is in its nascency. This trip will serve as a springboard for a consistent relationship and presence in Guyana, with the goal of creating a congenital cardiac global health group comprised of perfusionists, intensivists, surgeons, and nurses.
Children with congenital heart defects in Guyana have limited resources and accessibility to cardiac surgery services. This population was selected because of its current state of cardiac care and potential for a sustainable, year-round program. While Gift of Life International has provided frequent and routine trips to Georgetown to provide cardiac surgical services, this trip is aimed at building a consistent anesthesia presence. The goal is to build a high-reliability cardiac program and improve access to equitable care for this challenging, high-risk population.
While the expected short-term impact of providing safe care to dozens of children with congenital heart defects should not be discounted, the true long-term impact is in joining a program whose goal is to create a sustainable preoperative cardiac surgical home in Guyana. Being a part of this mission is incredibly important for my own personal growth in global health and for the program in need of consistent pediatric cardiac trained anesthesiologists.
Performed 10 cases pediatric cardiac cases (8 with cardiopulmonary bypass) with a team from Gift of Life International. Case type ranged from PDA ligation to VSD closure to Tetralogy of Fallot repair in teenagers. The anesthesia team consisted of my older brother (our first trip together as anesthesiologists) as well as incredible local support from the team at Georgetown Public Hospital. A gifted group of people from all around the world rounded out the perfusion and ICU and cardiology teams, with further plans to return for multiple trips in 2024.