Introducing Dr. Srul Schcolnik Navarro, Pediatric Intensivist to the Spirit of Love Program

We are pleased to welcome and introduce Dr. Srul Schcolnik Navarro, Pediatric Intensivist, who has recently joined the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Love’ Program and will take charge of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Salvatierra Hospital in La Paz, BCS. Dr. Srul, as he is known at the hospital, will participate for the first time in the 3rd round of pediatric open heart surgeries which begin June 4th. These surgeries mark the one year anniversary of the program. We conducted an interview for all of you that you may get to know Dr. Srul and learn more about his role in this incredible program.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am married to my wife Alejandra, I have two daughters: Sarah 4 years old and Avigayil 2 years old. I am from Guadalajara where I worked at the Centro Medico Nacional de Occidente (Western National Medical Center). My father is from La Paz; my great grandfather immigrated to La Paz from Poland.  My mother is from Guadalajara and her father, my grandfather, was one of the firsts Pediatric Anesthesiologists there. I was born and raised there but growing up I spent my summers here in La Paz.  I was an intern, here in Salvatierra Hospital and also had my first year of residency here specializing in pediatrics.  Actually a lot of the doctors here were my teachers in my early years.  I finished pediatrics in Hermosillo at Sonora Children’s Hospital and then Pediatric Critical Care in Guadalajara.  I’ve been back here in La Paz since March.

  1. How did you get involved in the LCCF Spirit of Love Cardiac Care program at Salvatierra? 

Well, a big part of the professional development for an intensivist is to work in cardiac surgeries.  The hospital I was working with in Guadalajara is one of the most active centers for heart surgeries in Mexico.  Dr. Ortiz from Secretary of Health department contacted me, shared the overall program with its two previous campaigns last year and that the collaboration between the Secretary of Health, the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center of Omaha, Nebraska and the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation was building a team of local doctors to be part of this project within Salvatierra Hospital.  Afterwards, Greg Edwards from the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation extended us a formal invitation to join the program.  I believe it is the dream of every caring doctor to be part of something that will impact somebody’s life and improve not only the child but the whole family.  I thought this was the perfect way to help someone who, because of their condition, cannot enjoy life the way we can. So I and my family decided to come back.

  1. What is your role in the upcoming Spirit of Love campaign? 

Patients with a cardiac condition require multidisciplinary management.  So my role is to manage all the medical requirements apart from the actual surgery.  For the patients involved in this upcoming campaign I will attend to any medical complications leading up to the surgery as well as post-surgery.  There are a lot of changes that the heart suffers during and after the surgery which require attention and treatment.  A heart surgery is like fixing a motor in a car.  The magic here is fixing a “motor” while it is still running.  While in most surgeries the patient is advised to rest, in this case we do not have the luxury of giving your heart a break!  That is why the help of the intensivist is required.

  1. How do you feel about the upcoming surgeries?

I feel very excited. I have been preparing for this and working with LCCF for the supplies needed.  It’s a lot of responsibility that I have taken on voluntarily and I am pleased to contribute in this capacity.  It is an honor to be a part of the lives of these families for a moment while making a big impact that will last a lifetime.

  1. Any special message for the families with children with heart defects?

I would tell them to rest assured that all of us participating with the LCCF Spirit of Love program are 100% committed to providing the best possible results and our goal is for these children to have the potential to live a normal life.

In medicine one of the rules is to never promise anything….but nobody can stop us from saying that we will provide our very best effort!

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