ST. PETERSBURG – All Children’s Hospital pediatric cardiovascular surgeon Jeffrey Jacobs, M.D., led a team of 60 physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals from throughout the United States and world on a special medical mission to Kingston, Jamaica, to treat children for a variety of cardiac related medical conditions.
Jacobs, as well as other physicians from All Children’s and healthcare organizations, spent one week in May partnering with Kingston’s Bustamante Hospital for Children. They performed 11 cardiac surgeries, provided cardiac catheterizations and interventional cardiology procedures for several other children, and made sure dozens of others received medical management in an outpatient clinic.
Under Jacobs’ leadership, the team has operated on more than 90 children since the first trip in 2006.
“In addition to doing surgery, we are also doing training,” said Jacobs, director of the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program at The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute and professor of Cardiac Surgery at Johns Hopkins University. “Education is a big part of our objective. While we want to operate on as many children as we can and save as many lives as we can, we also want to partner with the Jamaican team and empower them so they have the skill set to do more and more of this on their own.”
Money to fund the annual mission comes from the Cardiac Kids of Florida Foundation, which Jacobs founded. In addition to donated equipment, the mission has received support from Larry King Cardiac Foundation, St. Jude Medical, Edwards Life Sciences, Chain of Hope, Gift of Life, and Rotary International. All the doctors and nurses who make the trip donate their time. It takes a year to raise the money needed to ship equipment, arrange for transportation, housing and food to feed the team.