CHENNAI: When doctors at a hospital in Seychelles referred Angelo, a 10-year-old boy who was diagnosed with heart disease, to MIOT Hospital in Chennai, he refused to come to India without Rivana, a three-month-old girl with congenital heart disease, who was admitted to the same ward as Angelo’s.
Angelo was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease, a condition of chronic damage to the heart valves. He was admitted to a hospital for a month, and his condition worsened.
Rivana was diagnosed with truncus arteriosus, a rare congenital heart disease where pulmonary artery and aorta fuse together to form a single vessel. The baby developed severe breathlessness, rapid heartbeats, and breastfeeding was difficult. She was fed through a tube in the nose. “The hospital at Seychelles couldn’t treat Rivana and the Seychelles government referred her to MIOT. But, her single mother was suffering from epilepsy and that didn’t support her travel,” said Angelica, Angelo’s mother. After hearing Rivana’s ordeal, Angelo grew fond of her. Angelica talked to Rivana’s aunt, and they flew to Chennai with Rivana on oxygen support.
“On August 10, Rivana was taken for a surgery. Since, both blood vessels, were fused, oxygenated and deoxygenated blood was mixing. A tissue valve graft was placed to separate both the vessels. The baby also had leakage in a heart valve and it was repaired,” said Dr Robert Coelho, director and head of paediatric surgery, MIOT Hospital.
Meanwhile, Angelo underwent a surgery to repair his heart valves (mitral and aortic). Both the children are doing well and discharged on Tuesday,
Angelo often slipped out of his room to be with the baby. Seeing his love and affection for her, the doctors there shifted both the children to the same room. “Whenever, Rivana fell sick, he’d become dull, and inquire with doctors and me how she was doing and what happened to her,” said Angelica.