One of the missions of Los Cabos Children’s Foundation (LCCF) is to provide educational support to our medical team in order to achieve first class medical programs in the state of Baja California Sur. As part of this work, from August 25th to August 29th, Dr. Rogelio Ortiz Batanero, Ministry of Health Coordinator, Dr. Srul Schcolnik, Pediatric Intensivist, and Brisia Velarde, LCCF La Paz Administrative Representative, visited Sioux Falls, in South Dakota. The purpose of this visit was to view the facilities of different hospitals and their protocols and methodology to search for new ideas that could be implemented in the Salvatierra Hospital in La Paz. Brenda Kuyper, LCCF Administrative Director, and Greg Edwards, LCCF Executive Director, welcomed the team and were eager to show them around.
The first places that they visited were Casa Carlitos and Casa Ronald McDonald, both part of the Walsh Family Village. These houses were built to provide a place to stay for patient’s families. Casa Carlitos was named after Carlitos, a 7 year old leukemia patient whose spirit and joy inspired the beginning of our foundation. This house was originally built for families of Los Cabos to stay while their children received treatment in USA. This was before the Spirit of Joy Cancer Center and Casa Valentina were established in La Paz in 2013. Casa Ronald McDonald also serves as an additional guest home for the patient’s families.
The team continued the medical trip by visiting the Avera McKennan Hospital, the charitable LCCF partner that helped develop our Spirit of Joy Cancer Center in La Paz. They toured the Heart Hospital, the Cancer Center, the Children’s Hospital and the Avera E-Care unit, where long distance medical support is given to dozens of hospitals in the region by real-time video monitoring. They also visited the Sanford Children’s Hospital, which is a vibrant, colorful, castle themed hospital that seeks to give an inspiring, creative and playful environment for sick kids.
The team also had the opportunity to go inside a Blood Mobile that has been donated to the state of Baja California Sur through LCCF. This vehicle, that promotes blood donation to save lives, is the second unit donated to our state by the Sioux Falls Blood Bank and is much needed in BCS.
Finally, Dr. James Hammel welcomed the LCCF team to the Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha (CHMC). There they saw many of their medical team friends from the previous rounds of surgery and had time to view them at work in Omaha. There was an excitement in the air as the two teams reunited and shared stories from the previous rounds. The medical team from Omaha wanted to know how each of the children were doing and many touching stories were shared.
All of the children’s hospitals that the team visitedin Sioux Falls /Omaha provide world class medical services and many new possibilities were explored. However, what stood out the most is that these US centers of children’s medicine also seek to create an inviting and attractive environment for the kids that are being treated. Everything is child friendly, colorful, and ensures a comfortable safe place for a child and parents to feel at home. They are treated as special guests and that loving attention helps them to have a more pleasant stay and forget, if even for a moment, that they are battling life threatening medical issues.