We are always extremely proud of our CTVS physicians when they volunteer their surgical skills and help those in need.
One of our board certified cardiothoracic surgeons, Dr. Robert Neely, and CTVS Surgical Tech Theresa Vela, recently returned from such an endeavor in Kenya providing cardiac surgical care and training.
They traveled there through their affiliation with The Division of Global Health at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School who are part of AMPATH (The Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare), a consortium of universities working together to support and develop sustainable healthcare programs at partnering hospitals around the world. This trip was made possible by a grant called the “Every Heartbeat Matters Award” through The Thoracic Surgery Foundation.
Dr. Neely and his team of fellow medical professionals were stationed at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya which serves a population of approximately 25 million people, including patients from Uganda and southern Sudan.
Once in Kenya, they were paired with corresponding local providers across several fields of care, including anesthesiology, OR and ICU nursing, and perfusionists.
Dr. Neely shares that the goal of this trip was to “work with local teams, including Kenyan surgeons, and help them gain experience in order to eventually establish a self-sustaining open heart surgery program at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.”
They performed both aortic and mitral valve surgeries on young adults suffering from Rheumatic Valve Disease.
“Each operation is a high yield opportunity for knowledge sharing,” explains Dr. Neely. “In addition to helping these young Kenyan patients, we were teaching skills and practices that will apply to countless other Kenyans in the future.”
Dr. Neely is humbled to take part in these surgical capacity building efforts in Africa and has been involved in various global healthcare outreach programs for more than 15 years.
He and his wife, Austin cardiologist Dr. Shanti Nulu, plan to return to Kenya this summer with their own family to continue sharing their expertise and supporting those in need.
Thank you to Dr. Neely and Theresa for this generous gift of your time and talents.