CHaD Providers Bring Pediatric Cardiology Care to Grenada
Grenada. It's a small island in the southeastern part of the Caribbean Sea, northeast of Venezuela. It's known for cricket, ecotourism and exotic spices. But it isn't cinnamon that draws Drs. Gerry Angoff, Tom Johnson, and Pediatric Sonographer Karen Scott to Grenada. It is CHORES.
"CHORES stands for Children's Health Organization Relief and Educational Services," Angoff explains. "It is an organization that has been providing pediatric specialty services to Grenada in the West Indies since 1989. I have been active with CHORES since 1996 and have made over 40 trips to the island to provide pediatric cardiology care. Karen Scott, our Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) pediatric cardiac sonographer, has been a member of the group for about 10 years, and Dr. Tom Johnson, another CHaD pediatric cardiologist, has made several trips. The cardiology disorders for which we care on our trips include congenital heart disease and rheumatic heart disease, which are prevalent in Grenada."
Karen Scott, right, with patient
Angoff and Scott made such a trip in May and with them, brought extra suturing supplies from D-H Manchester. "When the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) transitioned most of their procedures to The Elliot at River's Edge, there was an abundance of suture material that was not needed at either site. Mary Ann Aldrich, director of Clinical Operations in D-H Manchester, called me and asked if we could use any of it," Angoff explains. "We couldn't ship supplies, because they would get caught up in customs. However, we could pack them and take them with us.'
The Grenadian medical community and the CHORES group were ecstatic about the donated suture material. Dr. Mark Barraza, a pediatric urologist who is part of CHORES, was able to have the needle size and suture material type that is ideal for his surgery on infants and children." Often, limited supplies impede many operations, and past expiration dates threaten the integrity of material sterility.
"As a result of the ASC donations, many surgeries will be possible at lower risk and with better outcomes," says Angoff. Dr. Beverly Nelson, the Grenadian pediatrician with whom we work, wanted me to extend her gratitude and has asked for a contact to whom she can send her thanks."
He is quick to note that Scott skillfully managed the logistics of packaging and transferring the materials for the trip. "She has worked with me as a key member of the CHORES group and has for a number of years donated her time and resources as well," he says, as he shows me a photograph. "She brings such joy to the experience," he says.
This effort for is personal for Angoff, "My father died because of rheumatic heart disease. Going to Grenada is in a way, a tribute to him," he explains. "And when I go to the island, I feel closest to the reasons I went to medical school. I get to make a difference."
That same joy is seen in the eyes of the small patients in many other photographs. Beautiful children, held close by loving parents, whose faces reflect relief, and hope and gratitude. Who would have known that a doctor, a sonographer and a few packages of unneeded sutures could do so much?