Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet Dr. John Myers

So, today I thought it would be nice for you, our friends, family and those that are interceding on Iain's behalf, to get a little glimpse of who Iain's surgeon is.

Here's an article from 2008 & a link to his PSU Profile.

Pediatric cardiologist
Dr. Jack Myers is a healer of broken hearts — the kind damaged by congenital malformations, blockage and poorly oxygenated blood.
As the chief of pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery at Penn State Children’s Hospital, Myers joins Drs. Stephen Cyran, Patrick McQuillan and Steven Lucking for about nine days each November to perform free surgeries in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Myers first began his medical missionary work in the 1980s, traveling to a small mountain town in Colombia with an antiquated hospital. But when his team of 10 or 12 surgeons grew too large, the U.S. State Department issued warnings about their safety, prompting a brief hiatus. When they began traveling again, they flew in to steamy riverside Guayaquil, as part of the Lifeline program, an offshoot of Variety Children’s International.
The hospital where they operated initially was “old and dilapidated,” Myers said, and “would have been condemned if it was here in the United States.” They worked under an open metal roof, and live insects ran out of the spigot when they turned on the water.
Then, a new hospital was built, and for the past 12 years, they’ve operated out of a 400-bed children’s hospital with large old-style wards and seven or eight operating rooms. Because they lack operating tables, anesthesia machines, monitors and other equipment, they often take these items with them.
As the father of five, Myers often is accompanied by one of his children. The team also tries to take 12 young people with them each year, with differing levels of experience — some from high school, some honor students from Penn State and some from the medical school.
The doctors take care of about 15 to 20 cases each week and can do up to 30 to 34 open heart surgeries.
Many of the patients have a condition in which a hole exists between the pumping chambers of the heart. Before life-saving surgery, it looks like their tiny patients’ lips are stained with grape juice, he said; their eyes are bloodshot, and their energy levels are very low. Patients achieve a “dramatic response” after surgery, yielding an almost instantaneous transformation.
“You can’t imagine the joy on a parent’s face when their child is no longer blue and can get up out of bed and run around,” Myers said.
Myers knows that they are just scratching the surface of need. They help as many children as they can, but they must select the patients with the greatest chance of survival.
They did gamble on one memorable 4- or 5-year-old boy.
It was McQuillan, an anesthesiologist, who urged Myers to take a look at him. It was their last day. The surgeons debated whether the boy was too sick for surgery. Then, instead of eating dinner, they went to work.
The next day, the child was totally off of all machines. He immediately started talking and asked for breakfast. “He did fantastic,” Myers recalled.
The doctors usually see that boy every year. “We can’t operate on everybody,” but this was one gamble that paid off, Myers said.
As a result of the trips, the team appreciates life’s luxuries more. And citing the camaraderie and team-building that results, he called the visits “one of the highlights of our professional career.”
Clearly, they are touching people’s hearts.

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