Seventeen Guyanese patients consisting of 15 children and two adults, were in mid-February flown to Max Hospital, in Delhi, India for much-needed medical treatment through an initiative arranged by the Three Rivers Kids Foundation (TRKF), a registered charity in Ontario, Canada.

The group is the largest TRFK has ever taken charge of, and included four- month-old Sachin Singh; five- year-old Pholmaitie Singh; Alvin Ramkumar, 14; Linden Mason ,15; Evlon Fordyce, eight; Mohan Persaud, 10; Jamal Frasor, six; Krishna Sohanlall, 12; Deepa Sahadeo, eight; Kayla Joseph, nine months; Hayden Mentore, 18 months; Anayah Lopes, nine months; Nathan Patterson, five; Masud Khan, 18 years; Lovlenia Persaud, eight years; Shelly Nauth, 33 years; and Tairajh Deokie, 50.

According to a release issued by the Foundation, all of the children were suffering from varying congenital disorders, such as ventricular septal defects (VSD); atrial septal defects (ASD); patent ductus ateriosus (PDA); Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF); and rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

“We had some very seriously ill children on this mission,” Jeanette Singh , president of the Foundation, was quoted as saying. A registered nurse, Singh is the one who accompanied the group to Delhi.

Noting that four-month-old Sachin Singh and five-year-old Pholmaitie Singh were the most gravely ill of the lot, Singh said it is a miracle that they made it all the way to India. Both children had to be admitted to ICU immediately upon arrival.

For Pholmaitie, it was her second open-heart surgery. The first was done some two years ago, and was facilitated by another organization. She yet needs to undergo one more such surgery in about a year’s time, Singh said, so as to have a conduit inserted into the organ, which should sustain her for life.
Singh said that because Pholmaitie is not yet out of the woods and needs further treatment, she was unable to travel with the group, which returned home a little over a week ago. But she is expected by Tuesday.

Meanwhile, young Sachin, who’d spent most of his short life in a hospital here in the city, had, apart from a large VSD (hole in the heart), a PDA (patent ductus ateriosus)and severe pulmonary artery hypertension which made surgery and post-operative care rather complicated.

“There were many challenges on this mission,” Singh said, adding: “Apart from having seriously ill children, there were other issues like bed availability in the ICU, accommodation for the children and their mothers, and transportation for such a large group. Most of the Guyanese patients required a longer stay in the ICU after surgery, mainly because they have developed pulmonary artery hypertension as a result of being left untreated since birth.”

Singh said the mission was largely made possible through the kind-heartedness and generosity of Toronto-based Guyanese businessman, Chris Mohan, who donated CDN$55,000 towards the cause, thus enabling the Foundation to assist the large group in obtaining the much-needed medical treatment.
The Foundation is also grateful to the local Ministry of Health for its financial contribution, as well as Mallika Mootoo of the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, who provided medical support to some of the more seriously ill children before they left for India, and for rendering their follow-up care.

Also coming in for high praise were Drs. Viresh Mahajan and K.S. Dagar and the rest of the cardiac team from Max Hospital in Delhi for the excellent care they provided to the patients; Mann Travel of Brampton, Ontario for assisting with the Toronto to Delhi leg of the journey; and all those who came out in support of the February 12 fundraiser, which was held in Toronto.

The volunteer-managed Three Rivers Kids Foundation, has, since its establishment in 2005, to date has successfully helped 81 patients from Guyana to obtain life-saving treatment in India.