Children Cured, Skills Transferred in Republic of Panama

HEI faculty recently visited the Republic of Panama for Niños Sanos, Niños Felices (Healthy Children, Happy Children), a program of the Fundación Pro-Integración led by Virginia Alvarado, executive directors Soraya Bhiku and J. Thomas Ford, and board trustees. Children and their families from underserved areas of Panama are prescreened, then brought to El Vigia Hospital in the village of Chitré for free corrective surgeries for crossed eyes (strabismus) and drooping eyelids (ptosis).

Participating in this event were HEI Director, Chair and Philip M. Lewis Professor of Ophthalmology James C. Fleming, MD, FACS, oculoplastic surgery instructor Tara Goecks, MD, and third-year resident Andrew Meador, MD. Esteemed Panama ophthalmologists Jorge Arrue, MD, Felix Ruiz, MD, and Ernesto A. Calvo, MD, were among many who provided excellent leadership and interchange of knowledge and skill. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, scrub techs, nurses and many others also participated.

We are pleased to report that 100 cases of strabismus and 62 cases of ptosis were treated, and several young surgeons were afforded the opportunity to learn important surgical skills for treating these conditions. Our thanks to all who helped make this event such a success.

Surgery photo
Medical personnel from the U.S. and Panama, including Dr. James Fleming (left),
worked together to repair pediatric strabismus and ptosis.

Bhiku, Fleming and Meador with happy patients
(Back row, from left) Soraya Bhiku, Dr. James Fleming, and Dr. Andrew Meador with
several grateful children recovering from strabismus surgery.
Dr. Calvo, Dr. Goecks, Tom Ford, and Dr. Meador
Dr. Ernesto Calvo, Dr. Tara Goecks, Tom Ford, and Dr. Meador