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Winthrop University Hospital

Department of External Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 24, 2008
Contact: Leanna Mauro Cherry

Publications Specialist

(516) 663-2234


Members of Winthrop-University Hospital’s Cardiology team were recently recognized by the Hospital Municipal Universitario Japonés in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia for their outstanding commitment to providing world-class patient care services to impoverished Bolivians. Pictured (l.-r.) are Liz Rerisi, Nursing Director, Cardiology; Cathy Flamino, Administrative Director of Cardiology; Garry Schwall, Vice President, Heart Institute; Kevin P. Marzo, MD, Chief of Cardiology; Anthony Gambino, MD, interventional cardiologist and Luis Davila, interventional cardiovascular technician, who traveled to Bolivia to provide pro bono cardiac services; and Srihari Naidu, MD, Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.
Mineola, NY – When Winthrop-University Hospital recently upgraded one of its Cardiac Catheterization Labs, the Hospital donated the General Electric (GE) Cardiac Catheterization X-ray unit that was being replaced to the Hospital Municipal Universitario Japonés in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. In July, Anthony Gambino, MD, interventional cardiologist at Winthrop, and Luis Davila, interventional cardiovascular technician, traveled to Bolivia to provide medical training to physicians there and free cardiac services to people in need.

The donation was arranged by Mr. Davila, who is a native of Bolivia. “It was a privilege to travel home to help people who do not have access to the type of life-saving health services that we offer every day here at Winthrop,” he said after the recent trip.

During Dr. Gambino and Mr. Davila’s seven-day visit to the Hospital Municipal Universitario Japonés, the team treated 15 patients suffering from various heart conditions including Chagas – a parasitic disease which causes heart failure, arrhythmias and heart block; Takayasu disease – chronic inflammation of the aorta; and other heart aliments. Dr. Gambino also provided angiogram and stent training to several Hospital physicians to enhance the cardiac services available to Bolivian patients after his departure back to the United States.

In addition to the donation of a sophisticated x-ray unit and pro bono cardiac services, the Winthrop team also secured donations of the finest medical devices including bare metal stents, angioplasty balloons, defibrillators, ventilators and pacemakers from Medtronic and Boston Scientific. In addition, patients received complimentary three-month supplies of medication, courtesy of Angiomax® and PLAVIX®.

“Thanks to the dedication and support of Winthrop, Mr. Davila, and all of the companies who donated to this cause, people’s lives have been forever changed,” said Dr. Gambino.

The suite containing the GE Cardiac Catherization X-Ray Unit used to perform the cardiac procedures will also be utilized by Bolivian neurologists for cerebral and carotid studies at the Hospital Municipal Universitario Japonés.

“Winthrop’s donation of this advanced diagnostic and treatment equipment will have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of Bolivians for years to come,” said Dr. Gambino.

The trip to Bolivia was not the first for Dr. Gambino or Mr. Davila, who has traveled to his native country on several occasions to help others. Dr. Gambino and Mr. Davila’s first tour together took place more than a decade ago and included Scott L. Schubach, MD, Chairman of the Department of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery at Winthrop.

Dr. Gambino and Mr. Davila plan to return to Bolivia in November to perform additional cardiac procedures with the help of renowned Winthrop experts Jeffrey Snow, MD, electrophysiologist; Joseph Germano, DO, electrophysiologist; and Ralph Caselnova, MD, interventional cardiologist. Dr. Gambino has also been invited to present a lecture to the Bolivian Congress of Cardiologists in La Paz, Bolivia.

The Division of Cardiology at Winthrop-University Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, advanced research and outstanding medical education. Winthrop’s team of highly skilled and experienced cardiologists, specialized nurses, physician assistants, cardiology fellows and cardiovascular technologists provide patients with a wide range of sophisticated services, including access to consistently outstanding interventional cardiology, state-of-the-art computerized diagnostic cardiac catheterization procedures and expert drug-eluding stent placement - as well as innovative electrophysiology used to evaluate and treat all types of heart-rhythm disturbances with the latest generation of implantable electronic devices and pacemakers.

For additional information about cardiac care at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.

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