By staff reporter
DESPITE the volatile situation in Ukraine and against all medical odds, an Irish funded international surgical team has begun cardiac operations in strife-torn Ukraine by saving their first patient, a nine day old baby boy.
Miroslava needed emergency cardiac surgery, and was the most critical of the 60 children suffering from genetic heart defects on the waiting list from the two previously postponed missions in the eastern city of Kharkiv.
His parents expressed their gratitude to the surgeons and the Irish people who funded the operation organised by Irish humanitarian aid agency Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International.
“We are so grateful to the people of Ireland for saving our son. You are his guardian angels”, they said.
Seven month old Sergei, who also suffers from ‘Chernobyl Heart’, also received the life-saving surgery and many more children, from newborns to 14 years continue to undergo the operations by the volunteer team of internationally renowned specialists from the US, Canada and Nicaragua.
Of the 6,000 babies born with heart defects in Ukraine each year, 50 per cent are not operated on because of lack of facilities and qualified medical teams in Ukraine. Without cardiac surgery the children, who need complex open heart operations, have little hope of living beyond 5 years.
Since 2004 more than €3 million has been raised in Ireland to fund the programme organised by Chernobyl Children International.