Through major sponsorship of the Guyana Government, private sector organisations, and the work of a team of experienced medical professionals including cardiologists in the United States, the Caribbean Heart Institution (CHI) has been able to realize its dream of conducting paediatric heart surgery free of cost.
The team began the historic first round of surgery on April 8 on eight children with heart ailments and Head of the CHI, Dr. Gary Stephens told members of the media today at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) that three of the cases were successfully completed.
The cases were Pulmonary Stenosis, a condition where there is a severe obstruction to the heart’s attempt to pump blood to the lungs; Tetralogy of Fallot where there is a combination of a hole in the heart with obstructed blood flow; and Atrial septal defect which is a large hole between the left and right chambers of the heart.
Nirvanie Browne, Deandra Daniels and Shadel Griffith were the three children who where given surgery.
Dr. Stephenson was accompanied by surgeon Sheel Vatsia from the team of medical professionals who performed the operations and sponsor George Subjraj from the ZARA Reality when he told the media of the good news.
Head of the Caribbean Heart Institution Dr Gary Stephens
with the team of US medical professionals
“Over the years we have done a few paediatric programmes but mostly those were closing kids through the groin without surgery. We never had that capability.” Dr. Stephenson said.
Signs of hope for the CHI conducting this special kind of surgery began to flicker when Dr Stephenson, engaged in discussions with Dr. Vatsia who is part of an experienced group of medical professional and who has visited several countries.
The team includes two surgeons, two anaesthesiologists, two perfusionists, three cardiologists and four critical care nurses drawn from the Long Island Jewish, Mount Sinai, Montefiore and Maimonides medical centres, Texas Children’s Hospital and the Miami Hospital.
Dr Vatsia told the media how privileged he was to be a part of the programme which is of major benefit to children and which is often unavailable locally but offered to a limited extent in countries providing such care.
The range of heart defects Dr Vatsia said are fairly diverse but are those that are likely to result in early or premature death if not fixed in a timely manner.
Early this year the cardiologists came to Guyana, working with the patients whose names were submitted by Subraj and other corporate sponsors. A total of 11 children were selected.
Among the other sponsors that came on board were the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, Digicel Guyana, Laparkan Shipping, Pegasus Hotel and individuals such as Lake Persaud and Pastor Graham from World Vision Church.
Dr. Stephens describe the partnership as a “good example of government and private sector cooperation in trying to make good things happen for the children in Guyana.”
“In this project it was the quickest I ever saw the Government worked. I got a response from them in two hours from the time we made the request.
Second to the Government Subhraj emerged as the biggest sponsor in the area of financial contribution and has also dedicated his time and effort