Haitians Undergo Life-Saving Heart Surgery In Caymen Islands
Four young Haitians returned home last week having recently undergone life-saving heart surgery at Health City Cayman Islands.
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CMC) — Four young Haitians returned home last week having recently undergone life-saving heart surgery at Health City Cayman Islands.
The Haitians, between the ages of six and 16, whose transportation costs were covered by telecommunications provider Digicel, travelled to the Cayman Islands last month for surgery performed free of charge by Health City surgeons, led by Dr Binoy Chattuparambil, a senior cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon, and Dr Sripadh Upadhya, a senior pediatric cardiologist.
The surgeries were the first performed under Health City's partnership with Have a Heart, a philanthropic organization formed in 2000 by Harry Chandi and Manu Chatlani of India.
Chandi is now broadening this work and is in the process of forming Have a Heart Cayman with Gene Thompson, project director at Health City Cayman Islands.
Haiti Cardiac Alliance, a US-based non-profit organization has facilitated cardiac surgery for 58 Haitian children and young adults since early 2012.
Owen Robinson, executive director of Haiti Cardiac Alliance, said there are more than 200 children on surgical waiting list.
"Half have conditions that can't be dealt with in Haiti because they are too complex. These young people may also need intensive care after surgery. We are so excited to be working with Health City because we knew they would have the facilities and abilities that we don't have in Haiti right now."
Robinson said the surgeries went incredibly well and the young people were up and about soon after surgery.
"Staff at Health City were incredible, not only within the hospital, but they also went shopping for toys and snacks for the children," Robinson said.
He said to keep up with the incidence, they need to reach a level where at least 500 children access surgery each year. "There are at least 50 kids among those on our list who are at high risk of death within the next six to nine months if we cannot get them the care they need," he added.
Dr Chandy Abraham, medical and facility director at Health City, said the hospital was honored to be of service.
"When we met with Haiti Cardiac Alliance last year in Haiti we realized just how great the need was for our services, especially among young people. Haiti Cardiac Alliance does a tremendous job in pushing hard to scale up surgical opportunities in Haiti and overseas, and we were privileged to assist them in reaching their goal of helping those in critical need of help."
Haiti Cardiac Alliance's goal is to ensure that more than 100 children access surgery in 2015.
Robinson said Digicel's contribution was significant to the initiative as without the use of the company's plane the youngsters would have needed to travel via the United States and would require transit visas, which would add thousands of more dollars in airfares which was not a viable option.