July 9, 2012
You can usually find cardiologists Dr. Angela Taylor and Dr. Scott Lim saving lives at the University of Virginia Medical Center. But recently they took a trip to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic on a free health care mission.
“I thought it's great to be able to go down there and do things, but are we really going to go down there and create something that's sustainable that the community is going to be able to take and have and to pass on to other people,” said Dr. Angela Taylor, UVa Interventional Cardiologist.
The pair was there caring for patients, but also took it a step further training several physicians about how to identify and treat Rheumatic heart disease. It's heart valve damage that occurs after an episode of Rheumatic fever and can cause breathing problems.
“We could go down there and teach the Dominican Republic physicians what we know so they could provide healthcare to their own people with heart disease,” said Dr. Scott Lim, UVa Cardiologist.
Not only did this group focus on heart health. Diabetes prevention and management was another major lesson during the trip.
“We needed to extend it beyond just the heart, beyond Rheumatic heart disease to look at other ways we can help that populous out,” said Lim.
Dr. Taylor helped more than 220 people get checked for diabetes.
“What we did is we went into this community who were willing to be community leaders and we spent a couple of days training them about diet and exercise and how to work with people 1-on-1,” said Taylor.
This duo made this medical treatment and training possible.
“Just seeing that someone who didn't have a chance to get better get better. Whether it’s with a Mitral Valvuloplasty where they're fixed immediately or whether it's with the diabetes portion of things where we actually empower them to have control over something,” said Taylor.
They say they're not heroes. They’re just teachers working to raise awareness and provide resources to those in need.