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In April 2011, Healing Hearts Northwest made a second trip to Rwanda to continue its goal of providing open-heart surgery to Rwandans with no other means of receiving care.
It was exciting to be back and amazing to see friends we had made on our first trip. We felt comfortable with the city and knowing our way around this time and it was reassuring that all of our shipped boxes had arrived ahead of us this year. We had some minor problems getting our trunks through customs, but in the end all our supplies arrived safely and we were ready to start surgery on Monday the 18th of April.
We completed 17 surgeries, 12 patients with heart valve replacements and 5 patients with congenital defects, which were repaired. The patients ranged from 11 years old to 32 with and average age of 16. In addition, we completed 2 pacemakers, one on a 54-year-old individual, and 2 right heart catheterizations.
Our team included 48 members this year, 26 were returning team members and 22 were new members. We were fortunate this year to be able to include more Rwandan nurses that were eager to learn new skills and anxious to help with the care of our patients. The team was excited to teach and mentor, which fulfilled our goals of helping to develop an independent Rwandan cardiac program.