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...a club for people who never stop learning

The Scientech Club provides a forum for weekly presentations and discussions in the fields of science and technology and other topics for the enlightenment of its membership.

Regular, one-hour Meetings are, with the exception of holidays, held every Monday at noon at The Northside Knights of Columbus, 2100 East 71st Street, Indianapolis. Club Members, as well as the general public, may attend our Regular Meetings for a nominal contribution to pay for the facility. For those who wish, a buffet lunch may be enjoyed before the meeting. Occasionally, instead of a presentation, members and their guests may take a tour to a place of interest, such as a plant or historical site.

The Scientech Club is associated with two outstanding local charitable Foundations, established by Scientech members to promote science education: The D.J. Angus - Scientech Foundation and the R. B. Annis Educational Foundation.

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See the Club News page for information about new members of Scientech who have joined the club since the last Roster was printed.

Congratulations to Alan Schmidt and Doug Wagner who were recognized as Emeritus Members of the Scientech Club at the recent club dinner in honor of their contributions to the club. . Click HERE to see the current Emeritus Members of the Club

Vol 91 No 40 - October 27, 2014

Pediatric Heart Surgeries, Vocational Training Team

Presented By: Salim Najjar, Past District Governor of Rotary D6560


Salim Najjar

Salim Najjar, B.S., Engineering, made a presentation about a 2010 Medical Mission to Uganda in which he participated. First, a short biography on our speaker follows. Salim, a native of Lebanon, traveled to the United States for college and graduated from Tri-State University, Angola, IN in 1962. After working as senior Project Engineer on the Saudi Arabian oil pipeline, Salim returned to the US and settled into a successful career at Fink, Roberts & Petrie, where he progressed in rank to become President of the firm in 1989.

Uganda, a country of 35 million people in 2010, did not have a hospital with the capability to perform pediatric cardiac surgeries. Children were dying because of cardiac defects such as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), in which a duct between the pulmonary artery and aorta fails to close following birth, resulting in heart failure and death by the age of 40-50. Rotary Clubs in the US and Uganda applied for and received a grant to address this issue by performing pediatric surgeries on 10 children while simultaneously training local doctors to perform the surgery after the team returned to the US. Dr. Mark Turrentine, pediatric surgeon, was the medical lead for the team of 11 MDs and RNs assembled in Central Indiana to travel to Uganda. Salim traveled with the team as documentarian and photographer (paying his own way).

The team arrived at the Entebbe airport in Uganda on Sunday, 4/9/10, and then traveled to their hotel in Kampala. Not having the luxury to acclimate to “jet lag,” the team reported to Mulago Hospital ready to work on Monday morning. After reviewing the children’s echograms, the team initiated surgeries. The first patient, Esther, was 5 years old and was afflicted by PDA.

The procedure involved opening her chest, maintaining blood flow with an “aged” perfusion machine, repairing the heart defect, followed by closing the surgical opening and allowing the patient to heal. The first procedure took 2.5 hours and went smoothly. The following 8 surgeries went well without issues, with the exception of one in which a power outage threatened to postpone completion. Fortunately the power returned in time to allow safe completion of the surgery. The tenth patient was unfortunately found to have HIV, and because the team was not able to safely handle this added complication, they quickly substituted two children less than one year old as candidates for surgery. At the end of the week the team had successfully completed the surgery program, saving the lives of 11 Ugandan children. Moreover, the training of local doctors was successful, because 4 years later, local doctors in Uganda have conducted over 100 successful surgeries.

The budget for this effort was spartan, yet adequate. The cost for each surgery was $2500, and the medical team donated their time for free. The total expenses for the program came to $62,300, all of which was provided by the Rotary Foundation grant and 45 Club donations from both the US and Uganda. Based on the highly successful short-term and long-term outcomes, the funding of this program was indeed “money well spent.”

Notes by Ray Kauffman