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The next step, we believe, should be a return to Nicaragua, beginning in a small way with a small group (about 10 people) to run a cardiology clinic for a week and assess the number of people still needing surgery or catheter-based interventions to treat their cardiac disease. We tentatively hope to do this May 25-June 1. At that time, we could further assess the nature of the equipment and medications we have in Leon, and make plans for further medical trips. Dr. Brumfield hopes to return with an electrophysiology group to implant pacemakers and defibrillators and perform ablations for cardiac arrhythmias in July. He may also accompany us in May to inventory the equipment his group still has in Leon. Eventually, we hope to return with cardiac surgery and interventional cardiac groups; the earliest date we foresee would be in September, but we may need to wait until next year before attempting a project this major.
For the time being, we don’t want to bring students or residents to the country, but hope to resume this practice in the near future when we’re sure it’s safe. We do hope to bring one or two Nicaraguan students for a rotation in our hospital later this spring.
Most observers felt that our return would not be interpreted as a political statement. In fact, of course, PHL has no political opinions and we will be careful to maintain this position.