In developing countries, many indigent children born develop infections, sepsis, and pneumonia or suffer from trauma, which means they need to be intubated and on ventilators while they heal. In many cases, the breathing tubes that are available to help save their lives are too large for their airways. In addition, there are not many medicines to help sedate these children while they are intubated, so they thrash about, spit out the tubes, and need to be re-intubated. All of this movement and rubbing causes scars in these children’s airways that require many of them to have tracheostomies in their neck to allow them to breathe.
Unfortunately, in so many of these countries, these children then remain with their tracheostomies because there are no trained surgeons available to open and rebuild their airways or remove the scars. These children often can’t speak or go to school, or in severe cases, have their trach tubes plugged due to poor (or non-existent) suction equipment, which can be life-threatening.
Operation Airway intends to bring a real solution to these children and their families.
The mission of Operation Airway is to help children in need breathe as “to live is to breath.” Our primary goal is to educate local healthcare teams so they develop their own sustainable programs to care for their own children.
Our secondary goal is to work together on research to help change the way we care for children today and make it even better for tomorrow. We hope that our mission trips will represent partnerships between the in-country medical community and Operation Airway to provide high quality treatment to their children long after we have moved on to help another country.
How We Do It
Operation Airway is able to fulfill its mission by collaborating with medical practitioners in host countries. In some countries, an established or semi-established airway programs exists, and host country physicians request the participation of Operation Airway to help educate, train, and mentor their team.
Before making a commitment to a specific country, we travel to the country to meet with medical and hospital personnel as well as local non-profits, government officials, and sometimes even the local clergy. Provided all parties agree to the goals and objectives of Heart Care International, we will commit a minimum of 3 to 5 years to provide life-saving surgical treatments, education, and training.