Probably our most rewarding overseas connection has been with the University of Iasi, Romania. Professor Grigore Tinica, head of the Institution, visits Charlotte yearly and spends various times with his assistants familiarizing themselves with the newest developments in the United States.
Professor Tinica had a well established cardiac surgical program for adult patients in Iasi, however, he was in lack of facilities and trained personnel in cardiac surgery for children. The Heineman Foundation provided a grant to a young Romanian surgeon to be trained in pediatric heart surgery in Germany and simultaneously for the last four years we sent teams consisting of surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatric cardiologists, and intensive care personnel to Iasi to operate, assist and teach.
Our Romanian colleagues now perform surgery on children independently; however, we are still sending three-four teams a year to assist them in performing the most complicated congenital anomalies. The training of our Romanian colleagues involves not just “on-site” activity, but they also have sent health providers of various disciplines connected with cardiac surgery, such as cardiologists, anesthesiologists and cardiac surgeons, to Charlotte at regular intervals. We did and still do provide our Romanian colleagues with much needed technology such as heart-lung and echocardiography machines. The project is ongoing and our regular team-visits continue.
Our present most active international assistance project is the Centrul De Cardiologie Iasi in Romania where we send full teams several times a year to assist our Romanian colleagues in the most complex operations on children and neonates. We have always regarded ourselves as the “goodwill ambassadors” of the Carolinas Medical Center.