Our team arrived into Tarija mid-day on Saturday and we easily connected with Carlos Laserna, the Director of our Bolivia office and an integral part of our mission team. We were warmly received by the lead cardiologist here, Dr.Ivar Donoso, and proceeded to have a very good organizational meeting early on at our workplace, the Insituto Cardiovascular. Dr. Donoso worked closely with us during our Tarija trip last year and remains committed to providing pacemaker services to our patients throughout the year.
Our integrated medical team has been busy with both patient consultations and pacemaker surgeries. You can catch a glimpse of them moments before implanting our first patient, Angel Rojas, a 62 year old construction worker with advanced Chagas disease who received his pacemaker yesterday afternoon. Dr. Mark Ottolin is our returning Cardiologist and he's in excellent company with our pacemaker specialists, Bobby Carey (St Jude Medical) from San Francisco and Michelle Arsenault (Medtronic) from Toronto.
Juan Carlos is also a pacemaker specialist and works with Dr. Donoso full time at the Instituto. Dr. Donoso is capable of performing pacemaker implants now and will continue to learn new techniques this week along with new technologies related to the pacemaker programming device that becomes very important to maintaining the pacemaker after the implant. Always more to learn across the operating table!
Tomorrow Carlos and I will be looking further into the patient referral process, community awareness/education and our partner physician relationship. Meanwhile, the pacemaker implants will continue on site with our medical team.
While I've only been here for 3 days, I'm quickly reminded of the mutuality between our teams...largely a group of strangers who within minutes join hands and hearts for the good of others. Marvelous!
Back to blogging again soon! Ann