OPERATION KIDS LIFE SAVING OPERATIONS: MELANIE MACIAS

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On September 12, 2009, the NPDF traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador and was credited for securing an emergency medical visa for 13-month-old Melanie Macias who was scheduled to undergo open heart surgery at Schneider’s Children Hospital in New Hyde Park, New York. The NPDF coordinated his efforts with high ranking consular officials from the U.S. Department of State and the DEA Attaché assigned to the American Consulate at Guayaquil. Ecuador. The NPDF first learned about the plight of Baby Melanie in December 2008 when he received an urgent email from the mother saying her baby was critically ill and surgeons in her native country lacked the expertise to perform the surgery. The NPDF spent months trying to convince New York City hospitals to perform the surgery, however, they declined since it was a highly complex operation and the baby’s condition was deteriorating.
 Despite these obstacles, the NPDF succeeded in arranging the lifesaving heart surgery through the efforts of the “Gift of Life” program. These humanitarian efforts were recognized within the large Ecuadorian community in New York City. The NPDF organized that immigrant community to support Baby Melanie by holding prayer vigils almost every night at the hospital and their churches. On October 1, 2009, Baby Melanie died from complications due to her surgery. Despite the NPDF’s good faith efforts, he was still committed to helping Baby Melanie’s family whose sole income was $200 per month. The NPDF approved the funding of all funeral expenses in the United States, which included returning Baby Melanie back to Ecuador. The NPDF also personally transported the mother back to Guayaquil, Ecuador where the NPDF again funded a second funeral and all burial expenses. His efforts on the Baby Melanie case received substantial media coverage both in the United States and Ecuador, including CBS and ABC News. The news reports profiled the NPDF’s relentless efforts to help save a dying baby and his continued commitment and humanitarian concern to provide lifesaving medical care and operations for critically ill babies worldwide.