In December 1999, the NPDF was at a police exposition in New York City when the grandmother of newborn Emily Mendoza of Guayaquil, Ecuador explained the plight of her dying granddaughter who was born with congenital heart defects. It was around Christmas time and when major news networks learned about Baby Emily, there was a media frenzy to save her life.  Through my contacts, the NPDF was able to arrange for a “pro-bono” lifesaving heart operation for Baby Emily at St. Francis Heart Hospital, Roslyn, New York. Realizing the difficulty in obtaining U.S. visas, the NPDF personally traveled at Christmas time to Guayaquil Ecuador and convinced the U.S. Consul General to issue an emergency medical visa for the baby and mother.
The NPDF returned them to New York City where Baby Emily was transported to the hospital via ambulance and a symbolic police escort from over ten different police agencies.She underwent complicated open heart surgery that was a huge success and the media reports called it a holiday miracle. These humanitarian efforts demonstrated by the NPDF and others were recognized nationwide and internationally. The NPDF received numerous official proclamations from the New Jersey Senate & General Assembly and Mayor of Guayaquil, among others.

The success and publicity generated by the Baby Emily case that included a personal appearance on the “CBS Early Show” convinced the NPDF to permanently expand Operation Kids to provide lifesaving medical treatment to critically ill and severely handicapped children worldwide. In addition, the Baby Emily case generated positive police relations within the immigrant and minority communities at a time when police were being criticized for racial profiling.

Celebrating A Baby’s Survival


Emily Mendoza Today

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