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…in quest to save young patients with cardiac ailmentsBy Sharmain GraingerA baby’s cry echoed through the corridor of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC)’s Paediatric Heart Care Department. I followed the sound and it led to the Department’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Behind the still swinging double-door of the ICU was a baby boy being attended to by a nurse.  I later learned he was just about 20 months old.Dr. Rodrigo Soto examines a recovering Tenesha WilsonThis baby, like so many others, was born with a heart defect that had left him clinging to life. But the wailing child I heard was in that moment full of life; in pain, but definitely not dying.This was confirmed by Dr. Rodrigo Soto,Cheap Atlanta Falcons Jerseys, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Children’s Heart Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in the United States which is fondly referred to as the Baby Heart Foundation. Dr. Soto is a renowned Paediatric Surgeon. Paediatric Surgery is one of the most intricate fortes in the medical field that is not available in Guyana.Dr. Soto has moreover been offering his much needed expertise at the GPHC. On three occasions for this year alone he has been the lead surgeon who conducted successful paediatric open heart surgeries and other procedures. These medical missions came as part of the Foundation’s collaboration with Guyana through the Ministry of Public Health to offer a service that is lacking here.The most recent visit, which spanned a period of two weeks, was wrapped up after 17 young patients with cardiac ailments were attended to. The number attended to on two previous occasions amounted in total to just over two dozen. The mortality rate currently stands at zero percent.Among those recovering last week from the most recent bout of surgery was three-year-old Tenesha Wilson. Her mother, Sherry Wilson, told me that she first realized that something was wrong with her daughter when the skin under her finger nails started to take on a bluish shade.The woman who hails from Kwakwani, Region 10, said that her concerns saw her taking her daughter to the Kwakwani Hospital. The child was referred to the Linden Hospital Complex from where she was sent to the GPHC.A visiting Baby Heart Foundation team was able to screen the infant and it was discovered that she had at least three issues with her heart that warranted surgical intervention.“They check her and tell me she got three different heart  complaints – two holes, plus one side chamber small…and it was just worrying to me,” said an emotional Sherry Wilson.But the needed care was readily available to her daughter at the GPHC because of a partnership forged with the Baby Heart Foundation.The woman expressed appreciation that the GPHC had been able to collaborate with the Foundation so that her daughter, like so many others, could have access to free surgical intervention that is usually very costly.Sherry Willson for a moment mused over the fact that raising funds for a cardiac operation for her daughter overseas might not have even been possible.Like Sherry Wilson, Leandra Thomas of Eccles, East Bank Demerara, is grateful that the Foundation is helping the GPHC to offer heart surgery for children. She is convinced that the collaboration is nothing less than divine intervention. As she trained her eyes on a teenage boy lying on a bed in the recovery room of the Paediatric Heart Care Unit, Thomas threw her hands in the air and visibly mouthed “thank you God; praise God my son is alive”.Thomas first learnt that her son, Jinnear Thomas, had a heart condition in September.  She recounted how the now 15-year-old boy was plagued with what she believed was a common cold. A constant cough persisted,Authentic NBA Store, even after she thought the symptoms of the cold had subsided. “He started to get this shortness of breath and couldn’t breathe properly,” Thomas recounted.This happened for a period of about three weeks. But the worst symptom was yet to come. According to Thomas, one Saturday afternoon she returned home to complaints from her son that he was spitting blood.“I took him right away to a doctor (at a private hospital). When the doctor saw him there was no cold,Andre Burakovsky Jersey, and so the doctor did a heart test,” related Thomas. She said too that the doctor advised her to take her son to the Caribbean Heart Institute situated at the GPHC for further attention. There it was confirmed that her son had a heart complication.And since CHI does not offer paediatric heart care,Major League Baseball Jerseys, the Cardiologist there, Dr Mahendra Carpen, referred him to the already blooming GPHC’s Paediatric programme.Days before commencing a third bout of paediatric heart surgeries at the GPHC, cardiac experts attached to the Baby Heart Foundation were able to screen Thomas’s son. The report of an examination was that “he is in a critical condition. They said he had a swollen heart…it could have burst anytime. They said they don’t think he would have lasted a week,Jose Calderon Jersey, or even a day more…”The very day after Jinnear Thomas’s examination he was operated on, effectively correcting his heart defect. “Thank God for sending these doctors,” said Thomas as she added “I am asking God to continue to give them the health and strength that they need, so that they could continue to help children with these heart conditions around the world.”Although he was too shy to have his photograph taken, the lad, still sore from surgery,World Cup Jerseys, intimated that he was feeling much better and was happy with what the doctors had been able to do for him.According to Dr. Soto, Baby Heart Foundation is willing to continue to render its support here as as long as it is required. However the primary intent, he noted, is to help build the capacity at the GPHC in hopes of it eventually being able to conduct paediatric surgery independently.Among those who are being trained to be a part of a local paediatric cardiac care is Dr Marisa Seepersaud, who currently holds the position of Head of Paediatric Surgery at the GPHC.Minister of Public Health, Dr George Norton, is heartened by the support from the Foundation and sees it as part of a concerted effort to help reduce infant mortality in Guyana.The Foundation, with mainly the support of volunteers who are experts in the field of paediatric surgery, has for more than two decades been travelling the world offering its expert support and donating millions of dollars in equipment and other supplies to help improve paediatric heart care.Because the foundation is volunteer-driven, the operations are done at a fraction of the cost that cardiac interventions usually require.The decision to collaborate with the Foundation was one that was encouraged by Dr Debra Isaacs, a Canadian Cardiologist who has a keen interest in helping to advance cardiac care at the GPHC. Over the years she has given immense support to the GPHC on a voluntary basis, and has also expressed her commitment to continue to aid the process until Guyana can operate independently.
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