Mercy Hospital sends missions to Yucatán and other countries, bringing some young patients back to Iowa for heart surgery. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — Doctors from Mercy Hospital will continue a 40-year altruistic tradition by treating children on the Peninsula with congenital heart disease.

The children will be evaluated and some will be flown to Iowa for free surgery under the Children’s Lifeline program.

One young patient from Tecoh, Érica Mex Solís, was 7 when she was diagnosed with a “hole” in her heart, causing breathing problems and tachycardia.

“I remember when I was a child I got tired a lot, I could not run or play with my friends,” she said.

Today, she is 20, and is happy to publicize the good that Children’s Lifeline does.

In an event led by the DIF Yucatán President Sarita Blancarte de Zapata, Mercy’s staff commemorated four decades of service in Yucatán, improving the quality of life of hundreds of children here.

The coordinator of Mercy Hospital Iowa Group, Thomas Becker, said the most valuable reward for his team is to see the young patients recover, and grow up to have their own families.

Lifeline has sponsored hundreds of medical missions to over 50 countries. A mission leaves the U.S. approximately every two weeks.