Heartning News – Another 9 children from Guyana treated successfully in India.
6 children had open heart surgery, one child had neurosurgery, one had livery surgery, and one child had kidney treatment.

“Have a heart” — most of us have used this phrase at some point. But what do you do when that very heart stops working properly? Especially if you are only 23 months old, there is no treatment available in your homeland and your parents are too poor to afford treatment overseas? Leave everything to GOD perhaps. That is exactly what Varsha Cahtterpaul’s parents did. Three Rivers Kids Foundation of Toronto, Canada, in collaboration with the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG) came like a blessing in their lives. Varsha, along with 8 other children flew from Guyana on June 28th/2007 to Max Devki Devi Heart and Vascular Institute in New Delhi, India for medical treatment.

Varsha celebrated her 2nd birthday on July 19th. The doctors have given Varsha and the 8 other children a unique gift: A new and healthy life.

Six of the nine children had open heart surgeries to correct serious heart defects. One child had neurosurgery to remove a glioma (tumor) from her right optic nerve in order to save her left vision. One child had 2 large Mesenchymal hamartomas (liver cysts) removed, and one child had a kidney biopsy done and is now receiving appropriate treatment for steroid induced nephritis.

Of the six cardiac cases, Varsha Chatterpaul was the most difficult. Varsha had regular bouts of blackouts and would turn blue frequently. She was suffering from severe left ventricular failure. Her condition was critical upon arrival to Delhi. She had to be put on life-support twenty four hours after arriving in Delhi, and had open heart surgery on July 2nd. Eight days following surgery, Varsha was able to take her first steps with help. Prior to surgery, she was unable to walk.

The 5 other children with cardiac problems were suffering from congenital abnormalities and their conditions were also critical. Ten days following surgeries, all the children were discharged from hospital in good health. “They will be able to play, run, go to school and do everything that a normal child does.” It’s a good feeling. This gives me immense satisfaction,” says Jeanette Singh, a Registered Nurse and President of Three Rivers Kids Foundation who accompanied the children to India. “I accompanied each child to the operating room and saw all the surgeries being performed.” “Giving innocent and poor children a chance to live normal lives, seeing them recuperate daily, and the smiles on their faces, is really an unforgettable experience. For me there is no better way to spend my vacation time from my regular job”, says Jeanette Singh

The children that we take from Guyana to India for open heart surgery are in poor medical conditions. They have enlarged hearts and their lungs do not function properly. As a result of this they suffer from constant colds and chest infections. This creates some surgical and post operative challenges, for example their incisions can take longer to heal. As a result, they are classed as very high risk surgeries. Most of them should have been treated during the first 6 months of life. The surgeries are done despite the risks involved because the only other choice these children have is to live a life that is of very poor quality. They cannot go to school, they cannot play and a simple thing such as a laugh is enough to make them tired and cyanosed (turn blue).

The child with the Mesenchymal harmartoma was diagnosed at age 5 months, but nothing was done for this child who is now over 3 years. The cysts were so large that they were causing pressure on the kidneys and other internal abdominal organs. This cyst would have rupture eventually if left untreated and this child could have died.

The names of the children who went on this life saving mission are: Marlon King (aged 4), Khemlall Persaud (aged 7), Trinity Leslie (aged 3), Shiraz Alli (aged 4), Lijanna James (aged 15 months), Varsha Chatterpaul (aged 2), Divanie Ramdeen (aged 3), Diana Persaud (aged 5), and Sarah Pasha (aged 3)

Eight children returned to Guyana to begin their new life on July, 26th/2007. One child is recuperating in London and will return to Guyana soon with her grandparents.

I would sincerely like to thank the wonderful team of doctors and nurses from Max Heart and Vascular institute in Delhi, especially Dr. Viresh Mahajan, (Paediatric Cardiologist), Dr Anil Bhan (Cardiac Surgeon), Dr. Rajesh Sharma (Paediatric Intensivist), Dr. Sandeep Vaishya (Neuro Surgeon), Dr. Meera Luttra (General Surgeon) and Dr. V.K.Aggarwall (Nephrologist). Special thanks to the nurses from the Intensive Care Unit and the High Dependency Unit. Dr. Mahajan and Dr. Sharma sacrificed their time off from the hospital and went beyond the call of duty to stay with our children during the critical post operative period. Dr. Mahajan arranged for all the blood that our children needed for surgery by sending an appeal over the radio station in Delhi asking for donors to come to the hospital and donate blood. The response was overwhelming.

The cost of the medical treatment for all 9 children was $30,608 CDN. The cost of the airfares for the children and their mothers were CDN $38,062. The total cost for the entire trip including accommodation in London and Delhi, transportation, food, medicines etc. was CDN$75,810. The parents contributed US$10,000 towards their own airfares, the Ministry of Health of Guyana contributed US$2,000 and CIOG contributed US$10,000.

It takes many hands and many hearts to accomplish a mission such as this. Three Rivers Kids Foundation is very grateful for the assistance and support of Br. Fazeel Ferouz and Fayann from CIOG, Tara Balgobin, Chris Mohan and Pat from Mapleleaf Wheel Chair Company, Richard Aziz from Shabnam Radio. Heartfelt thanks to our regular sponsors Dave Pahuja, Dr.Gavin Jagan and Indy Singh, each of whom sponsors a child from Guyana every year. Also, a special thank you to Geeta and family from England for their help in organizing accommodation and food for the group while in London. And finally, a sincere thank you to everyone who donated time and money towards this mission.