Riley doctors traveling to Jordan to help refugee children

Posted at 8:04 AM, Mar 01, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS -- A team of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff from Riley Hospital for Children are taking their expertise and healing across the world. 

The team is headed to Amman, Jordan. 

Dr. Mark Turrentine is a renowned cardiac surgeon and professor. He had led 33 trips overseas to help children who would otherwise go without vital medical care and surgeries.

"It's an opportunity to extend ourselves to people that are less fortunate," Turrentine said. "We have an opportunity to provide them with and element of care that they cant access in their own countries."

The Riley Hospital heart team will focus on children born with congenital heart defects. 

"Being in the U.S. for ten years, knowing how the medical system here is, taking that experience with me back home to help those kids I left years ago, it's such a big great feeling," Dr. Kamal Abulebda, a pediatric intensivist, said. "I really feel this is something changing the way I look at medicine because not only am I giving back these kids what I have to, it's also time to show them that the world is a small town and we can help them."

Many of the patients are from countries surrounding Jordan, with some in Syrian refugee camps. The trips and medical expenses are paid for through grants and charities, including a program called Gift of Life International.

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