Stories from Iran—Dr. Novick’s Tenacity

“You’ll never be able to give away heart surgeries to kids around the world, Bill. There’s no money in that.”

This is what then-resident Dr. Novick’s faculty adviser told him when he got back from his first heart surgery trip to Honduras. But he had found what he wanted to do with his life, and nobody was going to keep him from operating on children in places where they couldn’t otherwise get access.

Dr. Novick knew something that his adviser didn’t: this is what he was made to do. He saw in Honduras that these children can’t wait for conflicts to end, governments to invest in healthcare, or economies to turn around.

They couldn’t wait, and neither could he.

Today, Dr. Novick and his teams have provided 8,000 children in developing countries with a heart operation since that adviser told him it couldn’t be done.  That’s a tribe of people who have gone to school, celebrated birthdays, had children of their own—they have a story and will live to adulthood because people said “yes” to Dr. Novick when he asked them to go with him to educate local surgeons and nurses to save their own children and their next generation of children born with heart defects.

This year, one of Dr. Novick’s “heart surgery kids” is hoping to have her own children. She is ready to be a mother, but her heart isn’t  strong enough for that yet. Dr. Novick and his team is going back to give her the surgery she needs to make this possible..

He’s never finished.