Despite the persisting grim and angry memories of the Nov 26 terrorist attack on Mumbai, there may still be some hope for peace-makers to defuse the current India-Pakistan crisis.
A four-year-old Pakistani boy, Mohammed Moshin, a ‘blue baby’ – born with a congenital heart defect-, was cured of his ailment in Chennai at the ‘Frontier Lifeline’ hospital of the Dr KM Cherian Heart Foundation, named after the ace cardiac surgeon who pioneered heart transplants in India.
“We performed a very complex and rare heart surgery to rectify the congenital defect by relieving the boy of the obstruction without touching his right ventricle,’ Dr Cherian who led the team of doctors to successfully accomplish this task, told reporters here today.
The main artery that goes to the lungs with a pulmonary valve, “you cannot cut that artery,” said Dr. Cherian. Hence, under usual circumstances, “we use a valve conduit as getting a graft heart valve is difficult,” he explained. In this case the “intra-cardiac repair” was accomplished even without the use of a valve conduit, which would have necessitated further operations as the child grew up.
‘Valve conduits’ are obtained usually from two sources – from the pig’s heart or from a bovine heart, he said. In this case the use of a ‘valve conduit’ from such animals was ruled out for religious reasons, he explained.
Now Master Moshin, “can lead a normal, healthy active childhood,” and the surgery done here last week “is final”, Dr. Cherian said. The ill blue-baby was first noticed by him at the ‘Tahir Heart Institute’ in Pakistan when Dr Cherian and his team from ‘Frontier Lifeline’ were invited there in the first week of November 2008 to organize open-heart surgeries in that institute situated in the semi-urban town of Punjab province of Pakistan .
“Today is the seventh day after the operation and the stitches are being removed,” Dr. Cherian said posing with the smiling boy. Moshin’s faher, Mr. Mohammed Ashraf and mother, along with the boy got a visa “on a medical emergency basis” and reached Chennai on Jan 4. As their visa expires on coming Thursday, they will leave for Karchi via Mumbai later tonight. The boy’s father is a businessman in Karachi and preferred to keep a low profile to the media for obvious reasons. Moshin left behind his elder sister at home and his parents profusely thanked Dr. Cherian for saving their child.
“It was only after seeing the boy’s condition at the Tahir Heart Institute during Dr. Cherian’s visit there that it was decided to bring him “to our hospital in Chennai,” the leading world expert in pediatric heart surgery said.
The surgery cost Moshin’s parents Rs.1.50 lakh, but it would have cost them more than Rs. 3 lakh in Pakistan , Dr. Cherian said.
“For us, it is partly a heart-to-heart gesture that should hopefully open up more people-to-people contacts between the two countries,” Dr. Cherian said, adding, he readily agreed to take up this case on humanitarian grounds.
Another miracle happens:
‘Frontier Lifeline’ achieved yet another miracle on Sunday when for the first time in the country, an Inter-state heart transplant was done on a 34-year-old Police constable here who was in very bad shape. In just 2 hours and 45 minutes, the heart from a brain-dead 28-year-old software engineer from Bangalore (both names withheld on request) was flown by a “heart harvest team” from this hospital in a specially chartered flight from the ‘ HAL Private Airport ’ there to Chennai, and the entire procedure done.
On reaching the airport here, Chennai Police provided the team a ‘traffic green corridor’ that enabled them to reach the hospital in ten minutes flat to perform the transplant operation in time. The second part of the ‘miracle’, Dr. Cherian said happened when the ‘aortic valve’ from the sick recipient’s heart were separately removed and fixed on another Tanzanian patient that saved the latter too.