I would like to introduce you to some very special kiddos...
This is Kenneth, pictured here with his mom and dad. He is about 7 months old. He has Down's syndrome and two "holes in his heart"--an ASD and a VSD for you medical folks out there. Kenneth was recently seen by a specialist visiting at Mt. Hagen Hospital. The doctor is not a cardiologist, but he has been trained by cardiologists to do echocardiograms. He travels around the country evaluating kids with congenital heart disease. Kenneth passed the preliminary screen! In July, he will go to Lae for a second screen by a cardiologist. If he qualifies, he will be sent on to Port Moresby for surgery. Will Kenneth be a candidate for Operation Open Heart? Here's hoping for the little guy!
Klara is the cute little gal sitting with her mother. She has a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. For non-medical readers, her pump is pretty messed up. If Klara lived in America, her condition would have been diagnosed as a newborn or maybe even before birth. She would have had surgery in the first year of life, and would have lived a relatively normal life. It doesn't work that way in PNG. Baby Klara was probably treated for recurrent pneumonias because nurses and doctors were unaware of her condition. When she was 4 years old, someone heard a heart murmur and made the diagnosis of congenital heart disease. She was first referred for surgery in 2006. She had some sort of preliminary procedure that year, but still needs her major surgery. She went back to Port Moresby in 2009, but the heart team ran out of time. She will be going to Lae next month to see the cardiologist. I pray that she hasn't run out of time, and hoping that she will be able to have her surgery as well.
There is no children's hospital in PNG. There are no pediatric cardiac surgeons. And even if there were, the families we care for would probably not be able to afford the expensive medical care. Operation Open Heart is a life saver. Once a year, volunteer doctors and nurses and other support staff travel to Port Moresby to do surgery on PNG kids with congenital heart defects. Thanks to all of the volunteers and donors of Operation Open Heart for the gift of life!
Even with free medical care, travel can be an insurmountable barrier for many of our families. The cost of a plane ticket is just too much. For the last couple of years, Kudjip Hospital has partnered with Airlines PNG to provide transportation for our kids from Lae to Port Moresby. They are doing it again this year! Thank you so very much APNG, to Paul and Linda and Cybele!
As Operation Open Heart approaches (July 28-August 7), please pray. Pray for the Kudjip "heart kids": Kenneth, Klara, Romania, Konde, Neola, Maryanne, and others. Pray for Dr. Becky and I as we work with APNG to arrange transportation, that we will have enough tickets for those who need to go. Pray for the doctors and nurses who will be traveling to PNG, and for the surgeries that they will perform. Thank you for remembering Operation Open Heart!
"Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
~ Psalm 86:11-12