by Sarah Melton

Last month, Carolinas Healthcare System and Heineman Medical Research representatives gathered at a Honduran hospital to celebrate the inauguration of Central America’s first children’s burn hospital.

Hospital para Ninos Quemados y Cirugia Pediatrica Ruth Paz, nicknamed CMC-Lincoln Honduras, will provide care for burn patients. The pediatric surgery unit expects to treat more than 1,600 patients each year, while the burn unit expects to treat more than 160 patients annually.

The Ruth Paz Foundation for the Children of Honduras, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping underprivileged children, built the hospital on the Leonardo Martinez Hospital campus, property donated by the Honduran government. Carolinas Healthcare System and Heineman concentrated their efforts on furnishing it with $800,000 worth of medical equipment.

“It is a privilege for Carolinas Healthcare System to contribute to a project of such magnitude and to provide necessary resources to communities that need it most,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, senior vice president and chief academic officer for the system.

“We are excited we could help ensure the health and well-being of children in Honduras and for the opportunity to build and foster stronger relationships with the healthcare systems in Central America.”

More than 80 percent of the Honduran hospital’s equipment, including patient beds, operating room tables, monitors and ventilators, were donated by Carolina Healthcare System and Heineman. Last summer, Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln, a Carolina Healthcare affiliate, donated more than 400 pieces of equipment from its old Gamble Drive location in Lincolnton to the burn unit.

“Anyone who is a citizen of Lincoln County should feel proud that we are offering an opportunity to provide better health care for children in a Third World country,” said Elaine Haynes, vice president of Patient Services at CMC-Lincoln. “Anything we can do for children anywhere I think is awesome.”

The hospital had planned to put the equipment in storage, but Dr. Francis Robicsek, president of Heineman, proposed shipping it to San Pedro Sula, where the equipment could be used at the burn center. The equipment was still functional, just out-of-date for CMC-Lincoln’s new $90 million facility on McAlister Road in Lincolnton.

“While the equipment has some age on it, it is still very usable,” Haynes said. “While the operating table is still in working condition, it just doesn’t have all the bells and whistles a new table would have.”

The Honduran hospital was not the only entity to benefit from CMC-Lincoln’s generosity. CMC-Lincoln donated medical and kitchen equipment and office furniture to several nonprofit organizations, such as United Way and Lincoln County Christian Ministries, and educational institutions, including the Lincoln County school system, Garner-Webb University and Gaston College.

“We are an organization that is about helping people, whether it’s at home or abroad,” Haynes said.