News Release

Church Donates Equipment for Humanitarian Open Heart Surgeries

"Operation Open Heart" officials were presented two external pacemakers by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 13 December. The Hon Paul Fletcher MP spoke at the ceremony held at Sydney Adventist Hospital, home base for the volunteer surgical teams that provide life-transforming cardiac surgeries in disadvantaged countries.

Funds for the equipment came from the Latter-day Saint (the Mormons) Humanitarian Program, which is supplied by personal donations from members of the Church. One hundred percent of the donated money goes directly to relief efforts globally.

Dr Leon Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Adventist Hospital, and Operation Open Heart volunteers received the equipment from Elder Terence Vinson, Area Seventy of the Church. The Hon Paul Fletcher MP also spoke in behalf of the Church in making the donation. Many of the medical professionals involved in the surgical trips attended and were greeted by Stephen and Rosely Webster, Church National Public Affairs Directors.

Up until now, surgical teams had to borrow the external pacemakers from suppliers in order to do the overseas operations. Because of increased use of the equipment, that situation has become unworkable. In order for these vital goodwill missions to continue, Operation Open Heart had to become self-sufficient.

The need was brought to the attention of the Church by local member Bob Jarvis, and the Humanitarian aid funds were made available.

Operation Open Heart, now in its twenty-fifth year, has sent teams of surgeons, nurses and pathologists on more than 80 trips, resulting in more than 2000 surgeries. The free procedures have saved the lives of children and adults throughout Australasia, South East Asia, and various third world countries. The professionals donate their vacation time and pay their own expenses.

Since 1985 the Church has donated more than $1.5 billion in aid to victims of natural disasters, poverty, epidemics, and war world-wide. These contributions are given irrespective of ethnicity or religion.


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