By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The Rotary Club of Belize held the final session of its gift of Life paediatric cardiology clinics on Sunday at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).
The clinics, provide free cardiology (heart) checkups and treatments to children and youths, and also coordinate with hospitals in the United States to arrange surgeries for patients who are in critical conditions.
Through the clinics, the ROtary assisted approximately 83 patients, many of which have been identified as needing surgical intervention for varying heart conditions.
Jai Mala-Vasquez, Rotary GOL committee member, explained that the clinic was a novelty this year, exceeding the average number of new patient encounters.
“We usually see an average of seven new patients, but we saw 15 new patients on Saturday alone”, Vasquez said. “This is showing that the information is getting out there and people are becoming aware of the work we do.”
Dr. Thomas Carson, a member of the medical team, applauded the resolve of Belizean parents who travelled from as far as independence village, to ensure that their children got the necessary medical attention they need.
The program has been in existence for decades, sending its first child to the US for surgery in 1977. Since then, over 300 children have been sent abroad for heart surgeries of varying magnitudes. Since 2013, through advancements made to the equipment and human resources at the KHMH, some open heart surgeries can now be performed in Belize.