Bravehearts of the Foundation: Baby of Shijina
April 6, 2018 | Contributed by R Srivatsan
Baby of Shijina was born to couple Shijina and Saju who live in Kannur District in Kerala. When their little baby was born the doctors observed that she had a rapid heartbeat accompanied with alarming signs of breathlessness. They immediately recommended that the parents take their then, two-week-old baby to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi for a more detailed evaluation.
Shijina and Saju who were elated on the birth of their first born, were now completely broken and shaken up. They started off on a seven-hour journey as an ambulance was sent by the hospital. Upon their arrival, the baby was stabilized and an Echo was conducted which showed that she was suffering from a rare defect called an Aorta Pulmonary Window (AP Window) in which there is a hole between the ascending aorta and pulmonary artery. This is a particularly rare condition and is poorly tolerated because a very large amount of blood which gets diverted into the lung. Babies who suffer from this disorder like Baby of Shijina become extremely breathless and develop severe heart failure. The condition needs early surgical correction without which a life is often lost, due to heart failure or the lung vessels becoming permanently damaged.
Both parents were counseled – emergency surgery was the only way their young baby could be saved. Saju was in dire straits, he didn’t have the financial comfort of putting together the money required for the surgery. He is a daily wage labourer, his earnings don’t exceed Rs 5000 (USD 77) per month. The doctors at Amrita Institute assured the family that a solution would be found, assistance in some form would be provided. This is where we at Genesis Foundation got involved, we agreed to take on the case with the support from our CSR partner – WPP India CSR Foundation. The green signal was given, and the baby was rushed into surgery.
During surgery, the ascending aorta and main pulmonary artery were divided, and the defect was closed with two separate patches. The surgery was successful – both parents and us at GF were relieved but the post-operative stage too is crucial. The baby required expert care to prevent pulmonary hypertensive crisis. Shijina and Saju are grateful that timely intervention was made which saved their newborns life.
They were able to truly rejoice of having their first baby, finally in better health a week later when the baby was discharged from the hospital.