Children's Heartlink heads to Brazil - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

Children's Heartlink heads to Brazil

ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC-DT) -- A medical team from Mayo Clinic just returned from a trip to Brazil. There they healed the hearts of children through Children's Heartlink.

1 in 100 children are born with congenital heart disease.

Without treatment, one third of those children will die before their first birthday.

That's where Children's Heartlink steps in. It's an international medical non-profit dedicated to preventing, treating and cureing heart disease among needy children in developing countries.

Mayo Clinic doctors Roxann Barnes and Joseph Dearani just returned from Brazil, where they spent over a week working with the program.

They work they do is two-fold-to teach and to heal. They work side-by-side with doctors and nurses in the developing countries teaching them how to give better care.

"I feel like they're care will be just a little bit better because I may have made some suggestions for improvements or tips to do things a little bit better that subsequently the children that are taken care of will recieve better care," said Dr. Roxann Barnes, Mayo Clinic cardiac anesthesiologist.

Children's Heartlink medical director Dr. Joseph Dearani says resources are extremely slim for medical teams in these countries.

"We leave there with them saying we want to be just like you. And, ironically we leave saying we want to be just like you. Because, these people have nothing and they give everything," said Dearmi.

While doctors share helpful information with each other, they're also caring for children.

"I feel like each time I go I've made an impact on someone's life," said Dr. Barnes.

"When you start taking care of children you have the gratification of taking care of a child and a child getting better. But you also have the gratification of knowing the future of that child, under most circumstances, is going to be very promising," said Dr. Dearani.

And it's the future that these children and doctors are looking forward to taking it all to heart.

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