So often, we hear Michigan families comment on how fortunate they feel to have C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in their backyard. As a parent myself, I have always felt grateful to know the level of care that U-M provides is available so close to home for Michigan families. For me and several of my colleagues, however, the gift of proximity to advanced care becomes even more striking once or twice a year when we step off the plane and begin our work to help children in Yantaló, Peru.
The small Peruvian town of Yantaló sits in the Amazon jungle. Getting to Yantaló is a one-hour flight from Lima, Peru, followed by a two and a half hour car ride. Because of its geographic isolation and lack of resources, getting specialty and surgical care to the residents of Yantaló and the surrounding area is a challenge. Enter C. Luiz Vasquez and the Yantaló Peru Foundation.
It started with a simple patient question asked years ago: “Could someone use my pacemaker after I die?” The question was met with exploration and now a mission to provide recycled pacemakers to patients across the globe.
U-M team implants new pacemakers during medical mission to Ghana.
Small, reliable and easily held in the palm of a hand, the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center’s Project My Heart Your Heart hopes to bring recycled pacemakers within reach of those in developing countries as a novel way of treating heart disease.
“This type of activity already goes on on a small scale,” says Dr.Thomas Crawford, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan.
“Doctors will literally reprocess pacemakers themselves and then take them in a suitcase and go on medical missions for a week or two to re-implant devices. The difference in our program is that we want to develop a standardized protocol that can be followed by any other charity that wants to do this,” he explained. Continue reading →
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