Nov 11, 2017 -- The day finally arrived - the hardest but BEST day of our trip to Vietnam -- the day we interviewed families of children needing corrective heart surgery and got to meet the kids themselves. Here are two of the kids we met.
Our first child is Trang, age 5, diagnosis - hole between chambers of the heart. Trang was very, very shy, quite underweight and had to stop kindergarten due to excessive fatigue. The first photo is Trang with her mom before surgery.
The second photo is Trang after surgery as she was being discharged from the hospital on December 1st. Trang is another child who can now look forward to returning to school and leading a normal life.
Kim Chi, age 7 months, seen in the following photo, is malnourished and has two holes in her heart and additional lung problems. Her mother burst into tears the moment she sat down in the chair with her daughter, testifying to the tramatic time this is in their lives. The MEDRIX nurse encouraged and comforted the mother and gave special attention to her child. You can see mom listening to her own child’s heartbeat in this photo. Kim Chi was admitted to the hospital on Nov 13 and must wait for surgery until she healthy enough to withstand surgical procedure.
Four more families and children were interviewed and approved for surgery. Thanks - MEDRIX Heart Surgery Donors !!
Sometimes the most difficult congenital heart defects cannot be fixed: instead they need to be maintained for life-long health. But this is not always easy. 16 year old Hue has lived with a congenital heart defect all of her young life. Hue lives in rural Dien Chau District within Nghe An Province in Central Vietnam with her parents, who are farmers. Nghe An is rich in natural resources with large swaths of forests, coastline and minerals. But despite it’s beauty and economic potential, congenital illnesses are expensive for any family, especially physical laborers or farmers. Hue was lucky to receive a pacemaker when she was 8 years old to correct her heart defect, and has been able to live a fairly normal childhood since then!
Recently the battery on Hue’s pacemaker has run out, and Hue’s family was faced with a very difficult decision: find the money to replace the pacemaker or risk Hue being unable to finish school and have a healthy future due to her heart defect. This would be devastating to Hue's future: after a happy and healthy childhood, going back to poor heart health and quitting school would have been devastating. Luckily thanks to MEDRIX donors like you, MEDRIX was able to cover part of the surgery expenses just in time for Hue’s surgery date, and our partnering organization OGCDC (Office for Genetic Counseling & Disabled Children in Hue, Vietnam) was able to support the remainder!
Hue was discharged from the hospital on August 17th, 2017 in very good condition and health. She already looks much brighter and happier after surgery! Now she will be able to complete high school and hopefully continue to college–a feat that is nearly impossible with an untreated heart defect. We thank all MEDRIX donors for helping make surgeries like Hue’s possible and for providing hope and a healthy future for so many people in Vietnam!
Access to healthcare can be difficult no matter where you live in the world. MEDRIX and our partnering NGOs in Vietnam are honored to be able to sponsor children and young adults for life-saving heart surgery when they have no other alternatives and little hope for the future. It can be especially difficult in rural and poor regions, even if a family gets assistance from the government. In Vietnam, even when a family holds a "poor card" showing critical need for reduced services, they still must pay a portion of the surgery, no matter how desperate their situation. And surgery costs can rise as a child gets older, turning a life-saving operation into a race against time.
This was little Nga's situation. Her father works as a fisherman in rural Quang Binh Province, earning only $87 USD per month. When Nga was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that affects blood flow, the family was unable to provide the almost $3,000 USD needed for corrective surgery. Nga's condition would only get worse over time, but not always show symptoms. She could appear well enough until she suddenly got sick and died, with little or no notice. Nga is a very quiet and studious girl who was attending kindergarten and getting ready for primary school in the fall. If she didn't have the surgery immediately, not only could she get sicker, but the cost could rise an exorbitant amount beyond $3,000 after her 6th birthday in June.
This is a choice that no family should have to face. Her father teared up during his interview with the MEDRIX team, fearful of his daughter's future. Nga's family was afraid not just for her health, but because of the cost of the surgery and whether they could provide it. Thankfully, MEDRIX and another partnering NGO were able to split the cost of Nga's surgery and she was admitted to the hospital right away. Nga was discharged from the hospital on May 19th in good health! She is looking forward to being able to start primary school in September, and was able to celebrate her 6th birthday this month with NO fear! Thanks to your generosity, she'll have a healthy and happy childhood ahead of her! MEDRIX was also able to sponsor two other children, Tu and Huong, and we encourage you to check out their stories and outcomes on our website also.
We could not sponsor kids like Nga for life-saving heart surgery without your donation and support. Thanks to your help, we've been able to sponsor three special children for heart surgery in 2017. They've not only regained their health, but now have the opportunity for an education and a real childhood without sickness ahead of them. We recognize that our donors put our projects into action! We sincerely thank you for helping MEDRIX to change lives everyday in Vietnam.
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