A friend in need is a friend indeed
April 13, 2020
A true story of how Genesis Foundation joined hands with Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in saving a critical heart defect diagnosed before birth.
Mrs Keerthana hailed from a middle-class family in the temple town of Thiruchendur in Southern Tamil Nadu. She was married to a young man belonging to a family of priests serving Lord Muruga in the temple. Keerthana was expecting her first baby and it was a time to rejoice for the whole family. However, during her 7th month pregnancy scan, the local gynecologist suspected something wrong with the baby’s heart. All pandemonium broke loose, most doctors counseled the couple negatively and the family were losing all hope about their unborn baby. By good fortune, the gynecologist referred her to Dr Balaganesh, a young pediatric cardiologist who had just set up his practice in the nearby Tirunelveli city, after completing his pediatric and fetal cardiology training from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi. Dr Balaganesh diagnosed the baby’s heart defect as Transposition of great arteries, a critical, but eminently correctable problem. He counseled the family positively and referred Keerthana to AIMS, Kochi during her pregnancy stage itself. The diagnosis was confirmed, and we positively reinforced the possibility of giving a healthy baby to the family after surgical correction of the heart defect. We were committed to providing hope and life in the form of heart treatment for under privileged children like Baby of Keerthana.
Then came the practical difficulties of getting the treatment done for the baby which most middle-class Indian families face – the problem of funding. We approached the Genesis Foundation for support for the treatment of this baby and they whole-heartedly agreed to support the family. All the required documentation and procedures were done even before the delivery and thus we were completely prepared for the ordeal after birth. We advised Keerthana to deliver the baby in AIMS itself so that long distance transport of a critically sick neonate from Tamil Nadu could be avoided.
As per the plan, Keerthana gave birth to a baby boy on the 25th January 2020. The baby weighed 3.5 Kg at birth and was confirmed to have the same heart defect byechocardiography done immediately after birth. The baby was admitted in the ICU of AIMS and all required supportive treatment measures and medications were started promptly.
The Genesis Foundation support fund of Rs 1.5 lakhs was issued promptly and with the help of this, the baby could be taken up for surgery on the 3rd day after birth itself. The baby underwent an open-heart surgical procedure called Arterial Switch operation by our senior pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr Sunil. The baby recovered over the next few days in our ICU and ward and was discharged on the 10th of February 2020 with a normal heart.
The overjoyed family shed tears of joy, relief and gratitude to our entire team and especially to the Genesis Foundation for this timely help. This story is a good example of how technological advances in medicine in combination with a desire to help a fellow human being in difficulty can save a little life.
The department of Fetal cardiology at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences has diagnosed more than 2000 heart defects during the pregnancy stage and facilitated in-utero transport, on-site delivery and fast-tracked neonatal cardiac care in more than 400 cases with critical heart problems. The success rates with this approach has been around 98% and this is the first program in India offering this kind of coordinated perinatal care for critical congenital heart defects.
We thank the Genesis Foundation for supporting heart treatment for under privileged children through our program in our quest to provide high quality tertiary pediatric cardiac care as illustrated by this case.
– Dr Balu Vaidyanathan
Professor, Pediatric Cardiology
Head, Fetal Cardiology Division
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences
Kochi, Kerala, India
Email: [email protected]