Novick’s work abroad recognized
WASHINGTON — Memphis pediatric heart surgeon Dr. William M. Novick was honored Thursday on Capitol Hill by Save the Children and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition with The Real Award for his international work with children.
“What it means to me is that the largest children’s charity in the world has realized and has recognized the work that the foundation is doing worldwide for kids with heart disease,” Novick said prior to the Hart Building ceremony, referring to the International Children’s Heart Foundation.
Novick, 59, who holds an endowed chair at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, said the award may be for him but it is meant for his entire team.
“I guess they have to identify an individual, but the work we do around the world is accomplished by the literally hundreds of medical volunteers that work with us every year,” he said. He said that was 450 medical clinicians last year.
“Although this may be an award given to ‘ Dr. Novick,’ it really represents an award, I think, to the institution — (ICHF) — an award that should be shared, obviously, by all the people that make this happen all over the world.”
The Washington award ceremony was just a fast stopover in a globe-trotting regimen that saw him in Macedonia on Sunday.
Friday, he left for Russia, then Iraq. On Thursday, he visited the offices of Sen. Bob Corker, RTenn., and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., who have been supportive of his work.
The foundation was created after a wealthy Philadelphia woman underwrote the work with contributions to the Paul Nemir Jr. Chair at UTHSC after reading Novick’s account of taking his skills to the Balkans in Healing the Heart of Croatia.
The REAL award, and its $ 20,000 prize, was underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Masimo Foundation and foundations associated with biomedical companies Merck and Medtronic.
Novick and his team have performed heart surgeries on more that 6,000 children in 30 countries, including Macedonia, where he met with officials last year after learning from a UTHSC dentist that children there had to travel to Bulgaria for heart surgeries.
ICHF has six administrators and four clinicians based in Memphis and 11 clinicians elsewhere around the country.
Novick was nominated for the Real Award by Kristen Brite McCormick, a volunteer at a nongovernmental organization in Iraq who lost a daughter to congenital heart disease, according to foundation spokesman Bryan Artiles.
Thursday’s award was the first by the Save the Children partnership aimed at recognizing the work of frontline health care workers.
It is is intended in part to call attention to the critical shortage of trained medical personnel in some parts of the world.
The award coincides with this week’s World Health Worker Week.
All Pro Cornerback for the Chicago Bears, Charles Tillman, has recently offered his support for congenital heart defect awareness by appearing with Dr. William Novick in a PSA. Shot in March of 2013 the PSA is due to be released later in 2013. ICHF is thankful for such great supporters as Charles Tillman! Read the full story here!
ICHF sends teams of medical volunteers around the globe to perform free heart surgery on children with congenital heart defects in underdeveloped countries. In February, we had a Babyheart Mission to Santiago, Dominican Republic. One of our non-medical volunteers, Janie Odgers, accounts for the experience with the team, the local staff and the many lives that ICHF touches everyday.
I didn’t know what to expect as a non-medical volunteer traveling with a medical team to the Dominican Republic. The Babyheart Team was going to the Dominican Republic to perform cardiac surgery on children.
Our first day, we boarded the bus and headed to the hospital. We drove down “used auto parts row”, I had never seen so many bits and pieces for cars – fenders, springs, tires – in little shops lining the street. As we arrived at the plain looking hospital, across the street were little stalls selling hot food. Entering the hospital a very jolly guard greeted us and we headed down the hall and up the stairs. I wasn’t prepared for what I would see at the top of the staircase.
At the top of the stairs was a waiting area full of moms with children, quiet, and patiently waiting. But it was the eyes that I saw, the eyes who were pleading, begging, hoping that we were the team with the answers. I didn’t know if all of these families were here to see this team, I assumed they were, but I later found out it was the waiting room for many surgeries.
As we moved through the double doors into the unit, it was abuzz with interns, doctors, and nurses all getting ready for another day. We shuffled off to a small room with lockers, also housing three beds for children waiting for their respective non-cardiac surgeries (as the day wore on this room was also the post-op). In the corner behind the door the echo machine was rolled in and set up next to one of the beds.
We hustled off to the little changing room where we donned our scrubs, booties and disposable nurse caps (we looked like the lunch ladies from school days) and went back out to join Tom at the echo cardio machine. The first mom and child were waiting, and again it was the eyes I saw. The mom trying to be brave and the child worried at what Tom was going to do to them.
It was fascinating as we watched Tom and then Sri navigate the little children’s bodies to look at the problem areas as they explained to the local staff what they were seeing. Surgeries started the very first day, with the most difficult cases the first week. Children moved from surgery to ICU, to the step-down ward and then the ward.
The eyes started looking familiar as we traveled through the waiting room and down the halls, moms and dads started to come in and see their precious children who had gone through surgery and were in the ICU. But their eyes still looked deep into our eyes as we walked around, searching our eyes for answers.
By the end of the first week I was overwhelmed by the compassion this team had for the children, the children who might not have lived without the expertise of this team. They were performing two surgeries a day; maybe three and some children went to the cath lab at the other hospital. Lives were being saved everyday.
Once the children moved to the ICU, the nurses worked around the clock taking care of them. They also had a small army of nurses who were either in training or were nurses who worked at the hospital that came through the ICU daily. Sharing, teaching, advocating for the children – holding them, walking them, feeding them along with their nursing duties – everyone cared and were happy to be there.
I was a little surprised to find out the parents had to bring the food and juice in for the children, maybe diapers and blankets, I wasn’t sure. We had candy we handed out to the parents, they were always grateful. We found the local nurses were just as happy to have a little sweet too.
The children were amazing, getting up and getting dressed the day after surgery, or the second day, quickly moving from ICU to step-down ward, to the ward and home. And the results were phenomenal, on the end of the second week we saw a small group of moms with big smiling eyes and happy children who had had surgery the week before but had now gone home. It was truly miraculous.
At the end of two weeks, twenty surgeries had been performed and twenty children’s lives had been transformed. I had the opportunity to see an open chest with a beating heart, the heart of a child who was going to go on and probably live a wonderful life.
I count myself one of the luckiest people alive as I had the opportunity to witness this first hand and my life will never be the same. Everyday someone asks me how the trip was and I share the stories of the children and the amazing team who spent two weeks away from their families to save children who might otherwise have died if it wasn’t for the International Children’s Heart Foundation. And I say, “no matter what the differences are – race, religion, or color – all parents want the same thing, for their children to live” and who wouldn’t want this for everyone’s child.
Janie Odgers, Guest Blogger
A Flat World, Full Hearts….Facebook, Globalization and Technology come together to Mend Baby’s Hearts
ICHF receives thousands of requests for assistance from parents of children with congenital heart defects all over the world. Babyheart Volunteer OR Nurse, Becca Davenport, had the opportunity to sit with one of these parents and hear her inspirational story of how a group of people from different parts of the world came together to save her child.
Last October, we received a request from Corazones Guerreros Unidos (Heart Warriors United), a Facebook support group for Latin American families of children with congenital heart defects. They had a mother in Ecuador whose two year old daughter was given little to no chance of living because of her multiple heart defects. When Paula was born, she suffered from a small heart murmur. A few months later, Paula’s parents were informed that the heart murmur was even more pronounced and that their baby’s blue-tinged skin color was a sign of low-oxygenated blood. Paula would need an echocardiogram in order to determine her condition. After an agonizing wait, the echocardiogram result’s arrived. Unfortunately, they revealed that Paula suffered from multiple heart defects, several holes in the septum of her heart, and consequently pulmonary hypertension. In the United States these defects are fairly easy to treat if detected by doctors early enough, and subsequently done when the baby is very small. However, in Ecuador there are no resources for children to undergo the necessary cardiac surgery to fix these issues, and thus the doctors treating Paula had nothing positive to tell her parents, only that there was no hope for their daughter.
Paula’s mother was especially distraught to hear that their child’s doctors had nothing to offer them, and it was at this time that she decided to take matters into her own hands. Paula’s parents invested many long hours pouring over the internet, desperate to find someone who could help the young girl. It was a few months after the search that the Facebook support group for Latin American families heard of ICHF. They were astounded to find a non-profit organization that performs life-saving cardiac surgeries all over the world, and even in their country of Ecuador! With the help of the friend from the group as a translator, Paula’s parents were able to communicate with the ICHF, and they were nothing short of persistent, as they knew this might be the only organization able to save their baby’s life.
After reviewing Paula’s medical records, Paula’s family was advised to bring their daughter to the Hospital del Nino Dr. Francisco de Ycaza Bustamante for our next Babyheart mission to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Two months after initially contacting the International Children’s Heart Foundation, Paula and her family undertook the 7 hour trek (via bus) to Guayaquil, Ecuador, where surgeons would be able to fix their baby’s heart. At last, the little girl received her life-saving heart surgery, courtesy of ICHF and the volunteers that make it possible. Surgeons repaired the child’s atrial septal defect and multiple ventricular septal defects (holes in the septum of the inner heart chambers). Two days in the ICU, a few more up on the recovery floor, and Paula was well on her way to healthy new start on life.
Paula’s mother was in tears at the end of the interview. She later said that she was not able to communicate in words the magnitude of the International Children’s Heart Foundation impact on her family’s life. She says that she feels forever indebted to the organization, and the medical professionals who have been able to save her baby’s life. Thank you to the donors and supporters, even if she will never be able to thank them in person.
En español: Un mundo plano, Corazones completo …. Facebook, la globalización y la tecnología se unen para reparar los corazones del bebé
ICHF recibe miles de solicitudes de asistencia de los padres de niños con defectos congénitos del corazón en todo el mundo. Voluntarios Babyheart OR enfermera, Becca Davenport, tuvo la oportunidad de sentarse con uno de estos padres y escuchar su historia inspiradora de cómo un grupo de personas de diferentes partes del mundo se unieron para salvar a su hijo.
En octubre pasado, recibimos una solicitud de Guerreros Corazones Unidos, un grupo de apoyo de Facebook para las familias latinoamericanas de niños con defectos congénitos del corazón. Tenían una madre en Ecuador cuyas dos años mi hija se le dio poca o ninguna posibilidad de vivir a causa de sus múltiples defectos cardiacos. Cuando Paula nació, sufrió de un pequeño soplo en el corazón. Unos meses más tarde, los padres de Paula fueron informados de que el soplo del corazón es aún más pronunciado y que su bebé azul teñido de color de la piel es un signo de baja oxigenada sangre. Paula necesitaría un ecocardiograma para determinar su estado. Después de una angustiosa espera, el resultado ecocardiograma ha llegado. Por desgracia, reveló que Paula sufría de múltiples defectos cardiacos, varios agujeros en el tabique de su corazón y la hipertensión pulmonar en consecuencia. En los Estados Unidos estos defectos son bastante fáciles de tratar si se detecta a tiempo por los médicos, y posteriormente se realiza cuando el bebé es muy pequeño. Sin embargo, en Ecuador no hay recursos para que los niños se someten a la cirugía cardíaca sea necesaria para solucionar estos problemas, por lo que los médicos que tratan a Paula tenía nada positivo que decir a sus padres, sólo que no había esperanza para su hija.
La madre de Paula fue especialmente consternado al saber que los médicos de su hijo no tenía nada que ofrecer, y fue en ese momento que decidió tomar el asunto en sus propias manos. Los padres de Paula invertido muchas horas que vierten sobre el Internet, desesperado por encontrar a alguien que pudiera ayudar a la joven. Fue unos meses después de la búsqueda que el grupo de apoyo de Facebook para las familias latinoamericanas oído hablar de ICHF. Ellos fueron sorprendidos al encontrar una organización sin fines de lucro que lleva a cabo para salvar vidas cirugías cardiacas en todo el mundo, e incluso en su país de Ecuador! Con la ayuda del amigo del grupo como un traductor, los padres de Paula fueron capaces de comunicarse con el ICHF, y eran nada menos persistente, ya que sabían que esto podría ser la única organización capaz de ahorrar la vida de su bebé.
Después de revisar los registros médicos de Paula, la familia de Paula se aconseja llevar a su hija al Hospital del Niño Dr. Francisco de Ycaza Bustamante para nuestra misión Babyheart junto a Guayaquil, Ecuador. Dos meses después de que inicialmente contacto con International Children’s Heart Foundation, Paula y su familia emprendieron la caminata horas 7 (en autobús) a Guayaquil, Ecuador, donde los cirujanos sería capaz de solucionar el corazón de su bebé. Por fin, la niña recibió su vida para salvar la cirugía cardiaca, cortesía de ICHF y los voluntarios que lo hacen posible. Los cirujanos repararon el niño defecto del tabique auricular y múltiples defectos septales ventriculares (agujeros en el septo de las cámaras del corazón interiores). Dos días en la UCI, un poco más arriba de la planta de recuperación y Paula estaba bien en su manera de nuevo comienzo saludable en la vida.
La madre de Paula estaba llorando al final de la entrevista. Más tarde dijo que ella no era capaz de comunicarse con palabras la magnitud del impacto International Children’s Heart Foundation en la vida de su familia. Ella dice que ella se siente siempre en deuda con la organización, y los profesionales médicos que han sido capaces de salvar la vida de su bebé. Gracias a los donantes y simpatizantes, aunque ella nunca será capaz de darles las gracias en persona.
Click the link below to read about ICHF’s struggle to raise funds and maintain its global fight against congenital heart defects.
Take 3 minutes then if you have the skills and the heart to help children in need around the world, Take Two Weeks. Please watch ICHF’s latest medical volunteer recruitment video linked below then share with friends, family and colleagues!
Dr. Novick had a chance to come into the WREG Channel 3 studios to sit down with Alex Coleman and Marybeth Conley to chat about ICHF’s upcoming 2013 Babyheart Missions and his recent Real Award announcement as an honoree.
Please click the link below.
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (January 15, 2013) Dr. William Novick has won 2013’s Real Award as an honoree in the Pediatric Care category. Dr. Novick and ICHF wish to thank ALL those who voted everyday online and we especially thank Kristine Brite McCormick who nominated Dr. Novick for this award. ICHF extends gratitude to the Real Awards, Save the Children, and all the Presenting Sponsors. In recognition of this award ICHF must honor the Babyheart medical staff and hundreds upon hundreds of medical volunteers who give their time to help make these medical missions a reality.
ICHF wishes to congratulate all the distinguished nominees and honorees in each of the categories for the Real Awards. A presentation ceremony will be held in Washington, DC, this April. Dr. Novick hopes this will help raise awareness for congenital heart disease and for all the frontline healthcare workers across the globe. For more information about Dr. Novick as an honoree and the Real Awards, visit http://therealawards.com/.
The International Children’s Heart Foundation is a non-profit medical charity dedicated to providing lifesaving surgical care to children with congenital heart defects in developing countries around the world. Since 1993, more than 6,000 children in 30 different countries have received surgical care and thousands of other children have benefited from the education and training provided to the in-country medical staff during these humanitarian trips.
For more information about the International Children’s Heart Foundation, and how you can help support their efforts, visit www.BabyHeart.org or call 901-869-4243. If you wish to interview Dr. Novick he can be reached at email@example.com.
Press Release: International Children’s Heart Foundation Dedicates Two 2013 Medical Missions to Newtown, CT
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (January, 2013) The International Children’s Heart Foundation wishes to dedicate two upcoming medical missions to the victims of this tragedy and the people of Newtown, CT. This is a dedication to the victims, the families, the first responders, and the people of Newtown. The proposed upcoming Babyheart Mission dedications in 2013 are located in Minsk, Belarus and Nasiriyah, Iraq. A typical medical mission operates on about 20 children, that is 20 lives saved, almost the same number, sadly lost in Newtown.
It has also been brought to our attention one of the children who was lost suffered from a congenital heart defect and was scheduled for surgery the first week of January, 2013 at Boston Children’s Hospital. This is especially heart-wrenching to our organization, being that the healing of little hearts is our sole mission.
We hope this can serve as a small token of tribute and remembrance of those little hearts we lost that day.
This will be a really incredible year for all of those who work and volunteer for the International Children’s Heart Foundation. We have been a little cryptic in announcing this year’s schedule but you can now find it posted on the web page at www.babyheart.org. A summary of our anticipated schedule for this year is Iraq- three cities, Nasiriyah, Najaf and Basra. We will spend a total of 41 weeks in Iraq and there is the possibility this could increase to as many as 53 weeks if our next 1 Year Program is approved for Najaf by the Iraqi Ministry of Health; Libya- our program in Benghazi continues, in the first half of the year we will be there 4 weeks, and if our 1 Year Program is approved we will spend another 16 weeks there later in the year. Kharkiv, Ukraine- this is one of our longest running programs currently and we will be in Kharkiv for 7 weeks this year. Honduras- 8 weeks. Santiago, Dominican Republic- Starting our 8th year there and this year we plan 8 weeks there again. Also in the Dominican Republic we are opening OUR OWN HEART CENTER in Jimani, which will serve the children of Haiti and the children of DR who live in this remote corner, 8 weeks are planned there! Ecuador, our Guayaquil program continues with at least 8 weeks in-country and perhaps 10 if the Ministry approves our new proposal. We are adding Macedonia this year, and plan to spend 8 weeks in Skopje. Russia- Our program in Kemerovo continues with 4 trips planned for a total of 8 weeks there also. We have two other sites that we have not finalized yet for this year, Paraguay and Egypt. If we spend the time planned for these two we will be in Paraguay twice for 1 week each and Egypt twice for two weeks each time.
Not sure about you, but I lost count of exactly how many weeks we have jammed into one year, but it is way over 52! Help us help the children of the world with heart disease, visit www.babyheart.org and make a donation, everyone of every size counts towards a child’s heart!
– William Novick, MD