Mission Work

Ninety-three percent of the world’s population has no access to cardiovascular and open heart facilities.

The good news, by comparison, is that Ocala Heart Institute (OHI) will typically provide care to over 3,000 cardiac, vascular and thoracic surgical cases as well as 8,000 cardiac catherization cases in one year alone. While we have become so accustomed to the protective presence of OHI in our community, the rest of the world is clamoring for their attention, driving home the point that nationally recognized cardiac care is not a right, but rather a privilege.

So why, then, given such staggering success does OHI take it upon themselves to execute not-for-profit education and training trips?

From the beginning the goal of the Ocala Heart Institute was to draw upon the expertise of three specialties — cardiovascular surgery, cardiovascular anesthesia, and interventional/invasive cardiology — to deliver the best quality of cardiothoracic and vascular care to the heart, lung and vascular patient. They worked in complete cooperation with the hospital administration to build a program which would provide the highest quality of care in a cost-effective manner.

That said, the physicians of OHI knew that the greater mission of Ocala Heart Institute lay beyond the Ocala city limits, past the state line, into international waters.

Though it begs the question “Why?” the answer goes back to Dr. Peter Chung’s announcement: Ninety-three percent of the world’s population has no access to cardiovascular and open heart facilities. Dr. Carmichael knew there was a need greater than Ocala’s and took it upon himself, with the addition of Dr. Peter Chung and henceforth others, to answer it.

The Ocala Heart Institute, through their Heart for the World Foundation, exists to minister to a sick and hurting world. Education, training and providing indigent medical care in several foreign countries and domestically are the key elements of the organization. Performed in love as a ministry in service to God, these endeavors are meant to change lives both physically and spiritually.

For 12 years surgical teams have been traveling to Nanjing, Peoples Republic of China, to train doctors and perform open heart procedures. Because of the success at Nanjing, they’ve since expanded into Yangi, Fuzhou and Pyungyang China. In addition, OHI teams are also active in Mongolia, Albania, India and North Korea. To aid in the training process, international medical teams often come to Ocala to observe the latest techniques.

While the success of the program lies in education and training, there is a third element to which the doctors of OHI adhere.

“Prayer is a huge part of our work,” Dr. Chung explains. “When we travel to other countries, other cultures, we ask to pray with them. When their teams come here for more advanced training, they learn surgery and cardiac, but they also learn about God.” For believers and non-believers alike, you cannot dispute the fact that OHI has had unprecedented success in cardiac surgery and recovery.

Read the latest Mission Notes:

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. James Thornton brings his skilled hands overseas to developing countries.
March 29, 2012

Loping into the lobby of the Frances Langford Heart Center, Dr. James C. Thornton is met with a coy twittering of, “Hi, doctor” from female […]

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