“In our cardiac center, significant progress has been made in pediatric heart surgery. This all became possible, in large part, due to Dr. Novick’s missions.” Dr. Anton Maximov, Head of the Nizhny Novgorod Cardiac Center and Chief Specialist in Cardiovascular Surgery, Ministry of Health of the Nizhny Novgorod Region.
The Gift of Life, Inc., Russian Gift of Life USA, and renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. William Novick are collaborating to improve the care of children with heart disease by developing children’s heart centers abroad. Currently, several areas of Russia still do not provide comprehensive pediatric cardiac care to children in need. Instead these little patients are being referred to Moscow, St. Petersburg, or out of the country, while others face a shortened life expectancy.
Nizhny Novgorod, colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is a city located in the Nizhny Novgorod Region and Volga Federal District. The city was founded in 1221 by Prince Yuri II of Vladimir and the old citadel is preserved to this day. In 1817, Nizhny Novgorod became a great trade center of the Russian Empire. In 1896 at a fair, an All-Russia Exhibition was organized. From 1932 to 1990, the city was known as Gorky after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there. The city is an important economic, transportation and cultural center in Russia and the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, and is the main center of river tourism in Russia. In the historical part of the city there are a large number of universities, theaters, museums and churches. Nizhny Novgorod is located about 400 km east of Moscow, where the Oka river empties into the Volga. Nizhny’s population is over 1.2 million people.
After a site assessment in March 2014, Dr. Novick, Russian Gift of Life USA and the Nizhny Novgorod Cardiac Center agreed to collaborate on a project to improve pediatric cardiac services in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Eight months later, a ten-member international medical team arrived for the inaugural Gift of Life medical mission to Nizhny. The team performed sixteen open-heart surgeries in collaboration with their Russian counterparts. Since then Dr. Novick has continued to coordinate and send international teams of pediatric cardiac specialists to work with the appropriate colleagues at the cardiac center to expand cardiac services. The visiting teams work side by side with their Russian colleagues at all times providing direct hands on teaching at all levels. The visiting teams also provide 24-hour coverage in the intensive care unit and provide life-saving open-heart surgery to some ten children on each visit.
The second medical mission to Nizhny took place from June 6th through 20th of 2015. The eleven-member team performed thirteen open-heart surgeries in collaboration with their Russian counterparts. The third medical mission to Nizhny took place from May 14th through 28th 2016. The twelve-member international team performed eleven open-heart surgeries and five endovascular closures in collaboration with their Russian counterparts. The fourth medical mission to Nizhny took place from September 24 through October 8, 2016 and was dedicated in memory of Peter Tymus, who passed away on July 20th. The eleven-member team performed nine open-heart surgeries in collaboration with their Russian counterparts. The fifth medical mission to Nizhny took place from April 2nd through April 15, 2017. The seven-member team performed eleven open-heart surgeries in collaboration with their Russian counterparts.
For a report on the fifth medical mission to Nizhny, please click here