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Genesis Foundation – a children’s healthcare Foundation helps in saving a critically ill neonate due for an emergency arterial switch operation

This is an actual story of a 21 days old male newborn child, weight 2.8 kg (Baby of Rajalakshmi). This child was born on 15th July 2019 at Tirupur Government hospital, in Tirupur District, Tamil Nadu as a full-term normal delivery. The child parents, Mohanraj and Rajalakhsmi were delighted about their baby. Mohanraj works as driver in in a private travel company in Tirupur. He makes around Rs 8000 per month for his livelihood. Rajalakshmi is a housewife and this is the couple’s second child. They already have one four-year-old son.

After confirming the pregnancy, the parents were having regular antenatal check-ups at Tirupur Government Hospital and all were normal. She had a normal delivery and immediately after the baby cried and was seen by the pediatrician, all was normal – on the fourth day they were sent home.

One week after the family returned home, Rajalakshmi noticed that her baby’s breathing was fast-paced, and he wasn’t taking feed properly. The baby was seen by a local pediatrician and the family was reassured. However, these symptoms continued, so they took the baby to Trichy Government Medical College Hospital on 7th July when he was only three weeks old. He was thoroughly evaluated and detected to have severe cyanosis (low oxygen saturation in the range of 40 per cent). An Echo was done by neonatologist (Dr Senthil Kumar MD, DM) and the diagnosis was confirmed, D-Transposition of Great Arteries with a small ventricular septal defect.

We received a call from Dr Senthil Kumar on 8th August about the status of the baby. We accepted the given scenario of the baby and he was transferred to us at G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital, in Coimbatore from Trichy by the Government ambulance the very next day at around 11am. On arrival, the baby was very sick, with low saturation so an Echo was repeated, and the same diagnosis was confirmed. The need of emergency high risk surgery – an arterial switch was explained to the family. The parents were willing to give consent for the major surgery however they could not afford to pay for the entire surgery which would be roughly around 3 lakhs. Without surgery, the baby would not have any chance of survival.

In view of our collaboration with Genesis Foundation, I called Srivatsan, Programme Manager – Pediatric Cardiology. The Foundation accepted my application in an emergency basis under the high-risk situation. The baby was taken immediately to our ICU and intubated. After all the pre-operative preparation, he was taken to the OT at around 6pm on 9th August. He underwent a successful arterial switch operation and closure of ventricular septal defect on the same day. He was shifted to ICU at around 11:30pm with an open chest. He was doing well from a hemodynamic standpoint. However, the baby started bleeding from the operative site, for which he was re explored in the bedside twice and finally the bleeding was controlled at around 3:30am. The chest was closed the next afternoon and finally he was extubated from the ventilator on the 11th August. Just a few days after such a serious surgery the baby was shifted to a ward.

We at GKNM Hospital, Coimbatore are truly appreciative of the financial help given by Genesis Foundation for this little baby to undergo a major high-risk, emergency surgery. He can now lead a near normal life in the future. Both Mohanraj and Rajalakshmi are also very thankful to the Foundation. I can strongly say that the baby is living today only because of the help from Genesis Foundation – a children heart Foundation India. We encourage such kind of help in the future to save many more lives.

Contributed by Dr R Vijayakumar (MS, MCH), Director Centre for Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease