Saar Danon, M.D., the medical director of the Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Cardiac Catheterization at MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach, traveled to Honduras for a week-long medical mission trip to provide specialized cardiac catheterization procedures and cardiac surgery to pediatric patients.
Dr. Danon worked in close collaboration with the pediatric cardiac team at Hospital Maria and the World Pediatric Project volunteer team to train 17 local providers on cardiac catheterization procedures, cardiac surgery, and post operation care in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Hospital Maria is the only pediatric hospital in Honduras where a child can undergo cardiac catheterization procedures, so the waitlist to receive any procedure is more than a year long. After a year of waiting, Dr. Danon treated a six-year-old Yeimy, a patient with a congenital heart disease, with the necessary cardiac catheterization procedure to resolve her cardiac anomaly.
“Yeimy had lived with undiagnosed congenital heart disease that was discovered after she had fainted in her kindergarten class a year ago,” says Dr. Danon. “Today, she is able to participate in games and activities with her classmates that she could not join before.”
Dr. Danon, the volunteer team, and the local pediatric cardiac team worked from dawn to dusk at Hospital Maria to successfully perform five open heart surgeries and 15 catheterization procedures in one week. Through their passion and efforts, Dr. Danon and his team improved the lives of 20 children.
“I’m happy to strengthen the medical community by providing specialized training and essential support to the local providers at Hospital Maria,” says Dr. Danon. “Bridging the gaps in areas of varied pediatric healthcare and caring for these communities motivates me to be the best cardiologist I can be.”
All of this was made possible by the World Pediatric Project, a non-profit organization consisting of medical and non-medical volunteers, hospital systems, partners, donors and staff working together to heal critically ill children and build healthcare capacity in the world. The organization partners with 12 countries in total, primarily assisting those in Central America and the Caribbean.
Nine out of ten children in low resource countries lack access to basic surgical care, but since 2001, the World Pediatric Project has provided over 15 thousand children with access to life-changing care, facilitated training for hundreds of local healthcare workers, and advocated for health policies.
“I’m proud to work with a team and organization whose main goal is to provide care for children who lack access to pediatric specialist care,” says Dr. Danon. “Every child deserves access to quality critical and surgical care.”
In 2021 and 2022, Dr. Danon was recognized as a Top Los Angeles Doctor by the Los Angeles Business Journal. While his home base is MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s, he has gone on seven trips to Central and South America to provide services to communities that lack access to specialized cardiac care, and train local physicians to care for children with complex congenital heart disease.