It certainly does “take a village to raise a child”, and in this situation, to save a child’s life. Lori Cordova, RN and coordinator of the Friends of Barnabas Foundation’s cardiac medial brigades in Honduras, met Berenice Elizabeth last September. At that time, the cardiologists realized she had pulmonary stenosis and would need open heart surgery. Although they were able to operate on many other children, it was determined she would need to travel to the states for this operation.
Lori was introduced to me by Peggy Kipps, executive director of the Ruth Paz Foundation in San Pedro Sula. Peggy and I have known each other for several years and have worked together with many patients in Honduras, and also many who have traveled to Boston for medical treatment.
Esperanza has brought two other cardiac patients to Boston for treatment, so once again I turned to our trusted friends at Tufts Medical Center and The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation. Working with Deb Bunk,P.A. and Ken Warner, MD at Tufts, they reviewed Berenice’s medical reports and determined this was a child they could help. Dr. Warner has generously offered to donate his services free of charge.
The application for RTMAF was completed, which includes information regarding the patient and a cost estimate from Tufts. Terri Carlson informed us that Vernice’s case has been accepted! We are now in the process of obtaining Berenice’s medical visa which requires letters from Tufts, RTMAF, Tom and Emily Collins (temporary legal guardians/host family), as well as a letter from a Honduran doctor stating the operation couldn’t be done within country, a letter from the Ruth Paz Foundation (well known with the U.S. Embassy), legal authorization from Berenice’s parents allowing Lori Cordova to transport the baby and for the Collins’ to have (temorary) custody. The family will also need a notorized letter giving the Collins’ the ability to authorize medical treatment.
We are anxiously awaiting 8 month old Berenice’s arrival at the end of February. Our gratitude to each and everyone who is offering this child the gift of life.