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Arkansas Children’s Hospital Donates Heart-Lung Bypass Machine to the International Children’s Heart Foundation

MEMPHIS, TN (October 2, 2013) – Everyone knows the great work of Arkansas Children's Hospital's efforts to save lives at home but did you know they are active in saving lives abroad? By making a simple donation of equipment to the International Children's Heart Foundation based in Memphis, TN, they are doing just that. Thanks to the collaboration of two biomedical engineers, Kevin Haralson, director of Clinical Engineering /Biomed at ACH and Roy Morris, biomedical engineer for ICHF.

The International Children's Heart Foundation provides free pediatric cardiac surgery to children in the developing world and educates/trains local medical staffs for sustainability.

In order to provide the best technological care for their patients Haralson ordered a new heart-lung bypass machine for the hospital. He then had an older model on his hands that was still fully functional machine but had to be completely discarded. Haralson did not want to see it go to waste and he knew who to call, Roy Morris of ICHF. Both Morris and Haralson worked in the same field together in Little Rock when Morris was in the private sector. Now Morris works full-time for the ICHF and has done an outstanding job of partnering with hospitals around the country to obtain equipment donations for the "Babyheart" medical missions.

In this case, Morris needed a heart lung bypass machine for a medical mission in the East European country of Macedonia. The function and purpose of this equipment is when an ICHF pediatric heart surgeon must stop the heart in order to operate on it. The child's blood is then diverted and oxygenated via the heart lung bypass machine, operated by a perfusionist, thus keeping the child alive. These machines are expensive and very difficult to come by. Without this equipment the operations could not be performed. Children would have to remain on the waiting list for surgery and many young lives are put at risk, some will die.

Enter Arkansas Children's Hospital, which came through with their donation so the mission could continue. Haralson facilitated the donation and ensured the equipment was in good working order. Then Morris got it shipped overseas to the operating room in a Skopje, Macedonia clinic, ready for surgery. The donated bypass machine was put to use by professional medical volunteer perfusionist, Swee Huang, and it has helped the mission in Macedonia already operate on, and save the lives of, over 30 children.

According to Morris and Haralson, with proper maintenance this machine will last medical missions for at least another five years. With ICHF running three Babyheart missions per year, operating on 20 children per mission for another five years, the donation from Arkansas Children's Hospital will help save the lives of potentially 300 children.

Since 1993, the mission of the International Children's Heart Foundation (ICHF) is to bring the skills, technology and knowledge to diagnose and care for children with congenital heart disease to developing countries that request our help. ICHF does this regardless of country of origin, race, religion or gender.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. Over the past century, ACH has grown to span 29 city blocks and house 370 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children's health and development. For more information, visit www.archildrens.org.

For more information about ICHF, visit www.BabyHeart.org or call 901-869-4243. Please contact Bryan Artiles to arrange an interview with Roy Morris or ICHF's medical director and founder, Dr. William Novick at bryan.artiles@babyheart.org or 901-869-4243.

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