It is said that there is an inspiring story behind every good deed a person does, let me not spoil the fun for you guys by jumping over to the good deed directly, let me tell you the story first.
In 2014 a female called Anne Garcia from Houston, Texas gave birth to a beautiful girl child whom she named Ariana. At first everything looked fine with the child but about six weeks old Ariana suddenly stopped breathing. She was rushed to a local hospital, where the doctors told her that she was born with a heart complication which went un detected during child birth.
The doctors told Anne that Ariana would have to stay in the pediatric care unit of the hospital for 10 weeks. One of the doctors at the Hospital told Anne that he could “have a model of the patient's heart before he went into surgery, it'd be worth a million dollars." These words were like music to the ears for a desperate mother and she went on the quest to find a 3D printing service bureau who could print complex body parts. Ariana’s heart - which was determined to cost roughly $200 to manufacture.
This inspired Anne Garcia to start OpHeart, which works as a nonprofit with the mission to provide a 3D printed model to the child’s doctor for reference.
Talking to us Anne Garcia said “We believe that if pediatric cardiac care teams, and particularly surgeons, had the ability to review and even practice surgery on a 3D printed replica of a particular patient’s heart, patients would receive better treatment, ultimately resulting in better outcomes, not only with respect to their short-term recovery but in addition with regard to re-operations and overall health and abilities, cognitive as well as physical.”
She further added that although medical professionals are familiar with the general layout of the heart, deformities are very specifics and vary from patient to patient. With OpHeart, Anne can now provide heart models to doctors in the Houston area, this would lead to more efficient surgeries that are successful and also minimize surgery and recovery time, too.
For this noble cause Anne is working closely with Doctors, nurses, 3D printer manufacturers, software developers, medical device companies, third-party payers and CCHD families to get doctors access to 3D printed models of patients’ hearts for the benefit of as many children as possible.
Ms. Garcia added “We know how blessed we were, to have gotten Ari to a top-notch surgeon minutes before she would have died. But not everyone is as lucky, and the relatively short moment in time from diagnosis to treatment of a CCHD can determine the entire trajectory of a child’s life, or even whether she lives or dies. We want all families to have the best care possible, and doctors to have the tools to perform at their best.”
Ms. Garcia now has elaborate plans for OpHeart, where she would include a Board of Directors. She has plans to raise funds and give away $100,000 worth prize for innovators in pediatric cardiology. Setup a lab to do in-depth study on 3D printing. Develop a system to provide reimbursement for 3D models from health care providers.
OpHeart, may be the 1st Nonprofit working in the field of 3d printed body parts, this will inspire other to follow steps. I would not be amazed to report stories of many such organizations sprouting all across the globe.