Archive for July 3rd, 2009

Indian doctors who saved Pakistani Boy’s Life doing well 6 months later

Karachi, Pakistan- The improving relations between India and Pakistan soured once again after the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. But for Syed Saadat Ali and his wife Nadia, the heightened tensions between the two neighboring countries did not affect the treatment for their son, Syed Raahim, who was operated for a rare congenital heart disorder in New Delhi by Indian doctors in December of 2008, just a mere month after the horrible attacks .

Now six months have passed since Ali and his wife returned from India after a successful open heart surgery for their son who will soon be celebrating his first birthday. As the critical phase of Raahim’s recovery is over, the couple, who had earlier avoided the media, believe that they are in a better position to discuss their case now.

Raahim had been suffering from a rare congenital heart disorder that obstructed blood flow to the infant’s heart, making it difficult for him to breathe. Due to the lack of the required surgery facilities in Pakistan, the couple decided to go to India for his treatment after a positive response from a medical center and doctors there.

“Raahim suffered from shortness of breath since the day he was born and had the ‘Blue Baby’ syndrome in which his skin would turn bluish or purplish due to lack of oxygen, but even doctors at one of the most leading hospitals of the city in Pakistan could not understand what was wrong,” said Ali.
According to doctors, about one out of every 1,000 live-born babies is born with a congenital heart defect in which the major blood vessels of the heart either do not function properly or are not formed during the early stages of fetal development. “In Raahim’s case, his vessels had not been formed,” said his mother Nadia.

“We were asked to take one test after the other along with an ECG, but none of the doctors here could understand what the complication was and were hesitant to operate. We also took his reports to the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), where doctors agreed to perform a surgery but failed to satisfy us when we asked about its success rate.”

Ali then sought a second opinion from a doctor in India, as suggested by his close friend and within a day received a response from a doctor at one of the leading cardiac hospitals in India. Despite the talk of war and blame game between the governments of Pakistan and India, they decided to fly and save Raahim before it was too late. Unlike a regular visitor, Saadat and Nadia Ali were soon issued a visa on medical grounds.

“Our governments may have their differences, but once we stepped into India and interacted with the common man, each one of them welcomed us with open arms,” recalled Nadia. In fact, not only did they open their doors for us, but also their pockets to save Raahim’s life, added the father. The cost of the total surgery amounted up to Rs0.65 million, most of which was borne by the hospital trust. “This financial exemption came as a surprise because we could not afford it. For a while, we had lost hope.”

During their month-long stay in the country and frequent visits to the hospital, Nadia said that she was most touched by the support and respect they got in their times of adversity. “From the staff to the common visitor at the hospital, everyone gave us special treatment because we were from Pakistan. This just tells you how political or religious differences never trickle down to the common man, no matter how hard the government or media in both the countries try. Like us, we want more families in Pakistan to benefit from the medical community across the border”, the couple said. A peace between India and Pakistan will allow thousands more children to be saved every year and is one more reason for the two countries to find a solution to their differences.

%d bloggers like this: