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UVM Medical Center team to perform lifesaving surgeries in Rwanda

A team of 15 people from the UVM Medical Center is heading to Africa to perform lifesaving surgeries.

Dr. Bruce Leavitt has been going to Rwanda with "Team Heart" for the last four years and is heading there again in a month. He says there are only four cardiologists in the entire country of 11 million people. For perspective, there are 30 in Chittenden County alone. They’ll be replacing heart valves on 16 young adults who would otherwise die. They will be doing two surgeries each day.

"There’s something special about when you travel across the world and you give someone a chance at living who wouldn’t live and you save their life and they look at you and say, ’Thank you for saving my life.’ And it kind of strikes you to the core and you know why you’re doing it. It’s a great feeling," said Leavitt.

The medications are donated by the UVM Medical Center and the heart valves are donated by other companies. They pay for their own travel expenses, though.


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