Great Falls cardiac team headed to Ethiopia –

by Zelalem

A cardiac team from Great Falls is traveling to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, in May to perform valve replacement surgery on twelve cases, who would die of heart failure without this vital surgery.

This will be the fourth year Dr. Roberto Amado-Cattaneo will make the journey.  Accompanying Cattaneo on this trip is cardiologist Douglas Waldo, anesthesiologist Doug McGuire, perfusionist Wells Giles, and cardiac nurses Jamie Warcken, Kelsey Shammel, and Zachary Stricklin. 

Ethiopia has one of the poorest health care systems.  Endemic rheumatic heart disease affects thousands of children and young adults, 10-20 years old. Without treatment, these children and young adults will die of heart failure. Once heart valves are damaged, the only hope for survival is expensive, unavailable, cardiac surgery. 

“It is an honor for our local club to have the opportunity to support this mission in Ethiopia.  Dr. Amado-Cattaneo and his team have a true passion for making an impact in the lives of these people and I am amazed at what they can do with such limited resources”, stated Colin Lee, President of the Rotary Club of Great Falls. “This year, a matching Rotary District Grant is being used to support the Ethiopian mission for some much-needed technology, a blood gas monitor which will allow monitoring of patients after surgery.  In addition, we are working with Rotary International and a local Ethiopian Rotary Club in hopes to secure a Global Grant for 2019.”

The long range goal for effecting change is twofold: perform lifesaving surgeries, and teach the local staff of doctors and nurses, so they eventually become self-sufficient. 

The Rotary Club of Great Falls presented fellow Amado-Cattaneo with a check for $16,782.75 at their noon meeting Tuesday.

Benefis Health System contributed $5,000 in supplies necessary to perform surgery.

Valves and other surgical supplies were also donated by manufacturers from across the USA. 

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