In November 2000, the NPDF was informed by an Ecuadorian journalist about the plight of six-year-old Miriam Briones-Meza of Portoviejo, Ecuador who was critically ill and in need of a lifesaving heart operation in the United States. As a result, the NPDF made appropriate arrangements for a “pro-bono” operation and traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador with Fr. Brian Jordan, and NPDF Chief Medical Director Dr. Eugene Britt. Since time was of the essence, the NPDF convinced consular officials at the American Consulate at Guayaquil to issue an emergency medical visa for the child and mother. Miriam was successfully operated on December 22, 2000 at St. Francis Hospital, Roslyn, New York. The NPDF returned the child to Ecuador where the NPDF received a hero’s welcome that included a Proclamation and the symbolic “key to the city” from the Mayor of Portoviejo.


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