Last May, Dr. Warren Harthorne ’53 returned from a two-week medical mission to Rwanda, where he oversaw operations on 14 patients suffering from heart disease in a country still reeling from the genocide of 1994. His work at the King Faisal Hospital in the capital city of Kigaly included teaching Rwandan doctors how to care for its population, which suffers from rampant rheumatic heart disease. Leaving the patients behind was difficult, although Warren and his team have plans to return. “The experience was both interesting but also depressing in the sense of identifying youngsters with advanced heart disease for whom no effective treatment is available in our absence,” he wrote of the trip.
One of the key services Warren is able to provide for Rwandan patients is pacemaker insertion, an area he has specialized in during a lengthy career in cardiology. He has delivered lectures on the topic across the globe and helped organize various associations devoted to it while serving as president of the North American Society of Pacing and Elecrophysiology.
In Rwanda, Warren hopes to eventually establish an organized medical care system that can provide diagnosis and treatment at village facilities and help a nation of “warm and friendly and hardworking” individuals recover from past and present injustices.
Posted May 10, 2010