Similar to 'Doctors Without Border', HMC’s Pediatric Cardiac Team travels to neighboring countries that lack the facilities and skills to care for complex cardiac cases. Under the banner of Charity Initiatives - Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Pediatric Cardiac Intervention, and driven by their personal motivation with support from HMC and various charities, the Cardiac Team delivers a two-part initiative. The first is the provision of an international standard of care to children in the region. The second is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology. The Cardiac Team is able to bring in patients from neighboring countries to treat at HMC and is in the process of organizing a clinical attachment opportunity from Sudan to further the transfer of knowledge and skill. The program is essentially funded through financial aid from charity organizations within Qatar without incurring substantial financial burden on HMC.

The caveat with the funding provided is that the Cardiac Team travels to the beneficiary country. The model-of-care for the Cardiac Team is very much in-line with HMC corporate-wide initiative of multi-disciplinary teams. The team consists of nurses, a cardiologist, a cardiac surgeon, an anesthetist, intensive care specialists, a perfusionist, a respiratory therapist and an anesthesia technician. On any 10-day mission, the team performs 15 cardiac surgeries and up to 25 cardiac interventions. On their most recent trip, the Cardiac Team flew with 45 boxes of drugs and medication, with support from the Federal Ministry of Health. The Cardiac Team has had successful official missions to Yemen, Libya and Sudan, with three trips planned for 2013.

This initiative supports the plan to increase the critical mass of children requiring cardiac surgery and provides care to patients who may otherwise be denied essential treatment. In the past six months, the Cardiac Team has treated 12 patients at HMC and is approved to treat 40 children in 2013.

Physicians from Cardiac Surgery, Pediatric Cardiology and PICU have been major players in its organization and management – from liaising with patients and charities and relevant HMC departments to providing airport pickups. The Department of Hospitality has allocated two rooms at the Medical City Club Hotel for parents. The major charitable contributor is Eid Bin Mohamed Al Thani Charity Association, Jassem Bin Jabor Charity Association and Qatar Foundation. The Patient Helping Fund from Sudan has provided essential support in arranging logistics, flight and immigration. We have recently signed an MOU with Qatar Foundation and the Chain of Hope Charity.

From the team’s first excursion to Yemen in 2006, increased experience has streamlined the planning process.

With the increased activity anticipated, the future of this program is a bright one. The ultimate benefactors are the patients and their families, and consequently the entire staff of HMC from the increased exposure and experience, allowing for the development of confidence in Qatar’s healthcare system and the chance to achieve international recognition for HMC.