Honduras Medical Mission Trip
Since 2010, the George Washington University Heart & Vascular Institute has sponsored a two-week medical mission to Honduras, where GW University physicians and staff run a heart failure and arrhythmia clinic providing specialized care for cardiovascular patients, including implanting pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators. These life-saving devices are available on a very limited basis in Honduras, and even then are usually provided to patients who provide the highest cash bid. Among the dozens of medical missions to Honduras, the Institute’s project is the only one dedicated to assist patients with life-threatening heart rhythm problems.
Prior to the GW team’s arrival, Honduran-based physicians and social workers identify at-risk patients of all ages from throughout the country, who are then transported to the Centro Medico Comayagua Colonial Hospital in Comayagua for evaluation and care. In 2010, the GW team saw more than 100 patients and implanted 20 devices. Medical equipment manufacturers donated the devices, and The GW Hospital and the GW Medical Faculty Associates provided additional in-kind support of equipment and supplies. All told, more than $500,000 in medical supplies was secured, in addition to the donated time by physicians, technicians and staff. The Institute provided the financial support to underwrite the cost of the team’s transportation, pre-trip vaccinations and related out-of-pocket expenses.
Dr. Cynthia Tracy, director of electrophysiology, once again led the trip in 2011, examining over 120 patients and implementing 25 devices. In addition to heart rhythm treatments, the GW medical team brought with them a state-of-the-art GE handheld ultrasound scanner that records echocardiograms for bedside diagnosis and allows transmission of images back to their colleagues in Washington, DC for expert evaluation.
The 2012 medical mission to Honduras is scheduled for early September.