Congenital Heart Defects Information

Fighting Fate

by drmani on February 19, 2010

May 1989

I sat on a rickety wooden stool in Ward 5, at the bedside of my 26 year old patient.

I was a freshly graduated medical doctor, in an internship.

I was terrified.

This was the first time death was so near, so inevitable, so personal.

Jayaraman (I still remember his name!) was from a remote village, so desperately poor that none of his family could afford to travel with him to hospital.

He suffered from a condition called ‘Primary Pulmonary Hypertension’ (a raised pressure in his lungs, with no known cause), which was untreatable.

He was afraid of dying.

He was frightened to be alone.

So I sat beside him, held his hand, as slowly his life ebbed away.

It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my young life, then. To watch, helplessly, as a patient died, putting to death that glowing belief we cherished as medical students that the knowledge we were acquiring would save lives and vanquish all illness.

It was a day I grew up.

* * *

Today, I experienced the same emotions of that endless night twenty years ago. I lost a child. A patient. A little girl we operated a few months back.

She died because her heart surgery came too late to prevent complications.

She died because a defect so easily repaired in early childhood was left unattended for too long.

Her operation was a “success” – but by then, changes had happened inside her tiny lungs that couldn’t be reversed. And they claimed the ultimate price – her life.

It hurts today, just as badly as it did twenty years ago.

With one difference.

Today, I know I can do something about it.

I know YOU can do something about it.

I know that together, you and I, can fight congenital heart disease.

Keep it from claiming too many more little lives.

Give young children a fate better than this one.

Offer them a better future.

Yes, we can do it.

We must.

R.I.P. little one.



Our goal: to sponsor 47 heart operations this year. You can help – in THREE ways:

  • Tell a friend (or ten) about this and ask them to spread the word too


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