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When a Sore Throat Becomes a Death Sentence
A New York Times journalist travels with Team Heart, a nonprofit organization providing humanitarian heart surgery for rheumatic disease in Rwanda. In addition to highlighting the overwhelming need, her perspective illuminates some harsh realities of these efforts in resource-poor countries. Examples include the cultural repercussions of mechanical valves in females of childbearing age and the challenging surgical judgment required when operating on patients who are sick enough to warrant surgery, yet not too sick to survive in the context of limited perioperative support. Dr. Ralph Bolman III, Dr. Thoralf Sundt, and Dr. Bruce Leavitt are among the physicians participating in the effort and featured story.