Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Erneste's Story

At top left, Sue Gabriel, RN, cares for Erneste post-surgery; second from left, Ray Tye gives Erneste a Red Sox cap during their meeting in August; at bottom left, Jim Rawn, MD, lets Erneste listen to his own heart as he recovers from surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Team Heart is back at it, except this time our patient has come to Boston. 18-year-old Erneste Simpunga's heart failure was so bad that surgery was too much of a risk for him in Rwanda last April.

The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation, based in Braintree, generously offered to fund the cost of the surgery at BWH, and Simpunga was flown to Boston. Several weeks later, Chip Bolman and his team performed a successful double valve replacement. During the next few months, Simpunga recovered remarkably, gaining weight and exercising as he stayed with the Bolmans and enjoyed weekend visits with other Team Heart members.

The 18-year-old was much healthier—with a regular heart rate and an additional 20 pounds of muscle—when he returned to Rwanda in November. Simpunga is now back in school pursuing his dreams. “I want to be a doctor,” he said. “I want to help others the way I was helped.” Read more in the BWH Bulletin.