Doctors Mónica Gilbert, Luciana Boloña and Paola Morejón led the first heart transplant that was performed at the Guayaquil clinic, in the center. The intervention was carried out with a team made up of 60% specialized women.

Doctors Paola Morejón (i), Mónica Gilbert, and Luciana Boloña shared their experiences in this heart transplant surgery.

The beneficiary of this heart transplant is from Quito and is 49 years old. Her diagnosis was dilated heart disease, that is, her heart was very large and did not work well, said cardiologist Paola Morejón, who began the process with this patient in the clinical part.

The specialists said that there came a time when the patient felt that she was tired even when lying down, she was drowning; so, she traveled to Guayaquil to enter the clinic, with medication directly into the vein and was waiting for the donor.

Morejón explained that the patient had been hospitalized since last September, all the tests were carried out and she qualified for a heart donation. He put her on the list. “When a patient with medication is transplanted because he was hospitalized, she has a higher risk than one who was at home,” said the doctor.

The specialists commented that the patient remained hopeful and that she repeated that she was going to have a transplant for Christmas, but “her Christmas gift was ahead of her,” recalls the doctor.

The surgeon Mónica Gilbert, daughter of the surgeon Roberto Gilbert, explained that the process, which took place on Saturday, November 13, lasted more than 24 hours and more than 100 people intervened.

It was a whole chain of specialists: those of the National Institute of Donation and Transplantation of Organs, Tissues and Cells (Indot), the team of the other hospital where the donor was, the team of the Guayaquil clinic, such as surgeons, anesthesiologists, physical therapy, specialists, nurses, among others.

The first thing was to perform the “ablation”, extraction of the heart from the donor’s body in a hospital of the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS) in Guayaquil. Then, with all the required procedures, the heart was taken to the clinic, where the second surgery began, this one to implant the heart, which lasted more than five hours, the specialists explained.

The patient responded favorably to the transplant: she is already walking, she is developing calmly, and her family traveled from Quito to accompany her, because for logistical reasons she will have to spend more days in the hospital due to subsequent check-ups.

The doctors said that the first six months of medication will be important so that the body does not reject the new heart, and everything adapts normally.

In addition to the challenge that this intervention represented, in the clinic there is satisfaction with the participation, mostly, of women.

“You, regardless of gender, do it with a lot of love, because it’s your job. But you feel that joy of having successfully undergone such a surgery regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. However, in my case, I have proposed to empower women: here at Clínica Guayaquil we work many women, very prepared”, commented Gilbert.

He noted that within the surgical team there were 10 female specialists out of a total of 16 experts.

Dr. Luciana Boloña Gilbert, first surgical assistant of cardiac ablation, agreed that it is a great joy and satisfaction, especially because women are the ones who led the process.

“Women have no limitations. It is a pride that women are leaders in these medical processes, they remain in history … I have a daughter, and this is my example that there are no limitations to being professionals,” said Boloña, Mónica Gilbert’s cousin-sister.

Morejón explained that she feels happy and proud to have led this group. He recalled that he was with the patient for almost 36 hours without rest.

“I was in charge of the clinical part, from the afternoon the process began until later for the postoperative period, almost 36 hours there. You know your patients and you have to be there to see that everything is fine, along with the rest of the team, “said the heart failure specialist.

Maintaining the program will be the real challenge

Dr. Luciana Boloña commented that she was present when they announced that they already had the heart for the transplant. “They would have seen his face; it was a mixture of feelings: joy and at the same time fear of the operation. With that scene I understood that there are many patients who need this service,” he said.

She added that each person must communicate to their family members their desire to be a donor. “Let us remember, please, that without donors there is no transplant. For this reason, let us continue to promote organ donation to save more lives,” said Boloña, who thanked the donor’s family. (I)