Shaun P Setty, M.D., medical director, pediatric and adult congenital cardiac surgery, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, partnered with Sai Prema Foundation on an eight-day mission trip to Fiji to perform life changing cardiac surgeries for children who don’t have access to pediatric cardiac surgery in all of the South Pacific.

Dr. Setty and his care team arrived at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre in Fiji alongside the multi-disciplinary volunteer team from all around the world to perform 25 back-to-back surgeries in eight days.

“With the help of the excellent care team, all of whom came from different backgrounds to work extraordinarily together, we were able to provide children with the care they deserve and give them the opportunity to live long and healthy lives,” says Dr. Setty.

Each surgery would range from complex to severe treatment and were all performed by Dr. Setty along with his cardiac operating room team Sandy Tolentino, RN, Nancy Renteria, surgery technician, and Mabel Gomez, RN II, who provided him with surgical support on all procedures.

“The intensity of the environment we were in could be exhausting at times, especially with the amount of heart surgeries we were doing, but we wanted to help out as many patients as we could,” said Renteria.

The Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre in Suva, Fiji is a fully functional hospital for these children, but the disposables needed had to be pre-ordered from around the world in these challenging post-pandemic times where things like oxygenators for heart and lung machine are difficult to come by. This ensured they could provide the best advanced treatment for all pediatric surgical procedures while maintaining a safe and sterile environment.

“Every surgery presented a unique challenge, and it was truly a team effort," says Dr. Setty. "With the help provided by the Centre, our cardiac team was able to make great accomplishments in a short amount of time and provide positive outcomes for every case we took on, including a very sick baby in profound heart failure and pulmonary hypertension who was an inpatient in the local hospital and destined to pass away within weeks.” 

Providing outstanding board-certified specialists, post operative and follow-up care, the Children’s Heart Institute at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital is one of the few hospitals in Southern California to offer comprehensive congenital cardiac care to prenatal, infant, pediatric and young adult heart care for patients with congenital or acquired heart disease. The Institute performs procedures such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and heart catheterization with state-of-the-art technology allowing for smoother procedures and quicker recovery times. The Children’s Heart Institute is proud to continue providing advanced cardiac care to patients worldwide.