Urgent / Emergent

As a result of our ongoing humanitarian efforts, it is not uncommon to find a patient with special needs, either urgent or emergent.  Below is a list of some of the patients who are in desperate need for surgical intervention.

Many of them will need emergency surgery and will need to be flown to the United States within hours or weeks of their initial diagnosis while others may have a urgent need that requires surgery within 6-24 months.

Please include with your donation the ID number for the patient you wish your funds to sponsor.

Emergency Humanitarian Need

(September 23, 2016)

Flight for Her LIFE – Bring Yasmeli to the United States

dominican-isf-feb2016113_rURGENT: Funds are urgently needed to provide medical transportation for 13-year old Yasmeli from the Dominican Republic to HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea in Arizona for LIFE-SAVING surgery. We are requesting your help on a humanitarian emergency basis to help save Yasmeli’s life. Without the help of a modern facility, she will likely die from meningitis or a brain herniation due to a rare and yet normally correctable complications of spinal surgery.   We urgently need to get Yasmeli to the United States via Medical Air Transport.

Surgery and Hospitalization – $50,000

Medical Air Transport – $42,000

Ambulance Transportation, Housing and Food in Arizona  – $7,500

2 Weeks of Rehabilitation – $6,900


In 2010 we met a beautiful child by the name of Yasmeli who fueled our commitment to create International Surgical Foundation. She at the time was 7 years old and too young to have a definitive scoliosis surgery for her 69-degree curve. By 10 years of age in 2013, her curve had increased to 103 degrees. Multiple attempts were made to bring her to the United States in 2013 and 2015 but we were unable to find a hospital that would accept her on a humanitarian basis. By 2015, her curve had progressed to 129 degrees and her pulmonary function had declined. It was clear that waiting was no longer an option and that her progressive juvenile onset scoliosis would ultimately limit her function and shorten her life.

dominican-isf-feb2016103On September 2nd, 2016, we moved forward with surgery at a government run public hospital in the Santo Domingo, the only facility that was available at the time.  We were unaware of the issues that would befall us at a facility that receives almost all of the trauma patients for the region yet suffered with restricted resources to maintain basic infection control protocols, consistent imaging capabilities, and dedicated nursing care.

On the 4th day after surgery, Yasmeli developed a persistent cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leak.  She was promptly returned to surgery after which she did well for only a short period of time, but would again leak CSF and was eventually diagnosed with a hospital acquired infection and CSF leak.  The ISF team spent days prior to each surgery trying to obtain a CT-myelogram which would identify the source of the leak quickly but it is not available at any of the hospitals in Santo Domingo.

While on a 2-week bed rest protocol, five days after the second attempt to repair the CSF leak under suboptimal conditions, she developed another CSF leak on Friday September 23rd.  Yasmeli’s life was threatened, and was at risk of dying if the leak was not repaired. At a U.S. facility, her problem can be quickly corrected and will afford her a shorted hospitalization and an improved survival prospect.  She was transfered to Childrens Hospital of Phoenix where she underwent surgery again, and the lumbar drain was very helpful in controlling the leak as the source was still not obvious. The infection is under control now and she is recovering well.  Now the issue that remains is the cost to the family and we still need your support.

Please help Yasmeli by donating toward the cost of medical transportation to Arizona, and the modern technology which were not available in her country that has now saved her life.

Thank you in advance for your generous donation and may God bless you and save Yasmeli.

ID# 7443 (15yo male with congenital scoliosis, acute visual loss, and a connective tissue disorder)

15 year old boy with a undiagnosed connective tissue disorder, presented to the clinic back in 2011.  His scoliosis was first identified as a newborn, but due to no financial resources, he has remained untreated and without proper follow up.  Currently his other co-morbidity includes worsening vision with a possible lens dislocation.  He is currently scheduled to see a Ophthalmologist, but still needs a complete Geneticist evaluation with multiple diagnostic studies.

He is neurologically intact in both legs and has a normal bipedal gait.  His obvious finding is his large thoracic kyphotic hump.  He has generalized atrophy of both lower extremities.


This patient will need a higher level of care than what can be expected in the Dominican Republic and will require extensive spine management in the United States.  We will need a sponsor who will be able to support her treatment.  Please contact us if you are able to help.


Financial Impact on the Family

Part of the diagnostic work up for these patients may be costly for their families. The amounts of the various diagnostic studies outlined below may not sound like much, but keep in mind many of the people in these families may only make $200 USD equivalent per month, yet the cost of gasoline in the Dominican Republic is routinely higher than it is in the United States.

Cost of services that are not donated.

    • Pre-Surgical Laboratory Studies- RD$2,900.00
    • Intraoperative Blood Transfusion-
    • Genetics Testing (Miami)- $150 USD
    • Karyotype – RD$2,000.00
    • Computerized Tomography Spine (one region)- RD$5,964.00
    • MRI Spine (one region)- RD$9, 075.00
    • Pulmonary Function Testing- RD$2,000.00

There are multiple other cost which are critical to providing this surgical services to these wonderful patients. This inludes the cost of moving people and equipment as well as purchasing needed equipment and instruments that we are unable to obtain as a donation. this cost is over $80,000 per year. ISF Budget 2013

Please include with your donation the ID number for the patient you wish your funds to sponsor.