Children arrive at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya to receive life-saving heart surgery.
Faith’s easy laughter and happy smile give no hint of the heart defect that threatens her life. During a review of the 18-month-old’s case with the cardiac team, cardiologist Dr. Tom Doyle said, “Without repair, her life will be very short.”
Faith is one patient among a group of 10 children with serious heart defects who are scheduled for open-heart surgery this week at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. A special cardiac team from the United States came to the rural mission hospital through World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse, to make the operations possible.
Children from across Kenya and from as far away as Tanzania have been evaluated and approved for surgery. In addition to performing operations on new patients, the medical team is also following the progress of former patients who were treated during past visits.
“I wish that we could stay for a month,” said Dr. Mike Liske, a cardiologist from Tennessee, as he evaluated a 7-year-old girl named Shellah. “We would never run out of patients.”
World Medical Mission arranged travel and logistics for the surgical team, which has made six trips to Tenwek Hospital since 2008. We also sent a biomedical technician to provide mechanical support for the complicated machines that are used during the operations.
The children have a variety of heart problems, ranging from congenital heart defects to complications of rheumatic fever. Kenya has one of the highest incidents of rheumatic fever in the world.
Faith is scheduled for the first day of surgery along with a 3-year-old girl named Prudence. Faith’s mother, Grace, traveled for 10 hours to bring her daughter to Tenwek Hospital.
“We prayed for Faith as a family before I left, and our church at home is praying.” Grace said. “We pray that God will heal her.”
Prudence was diagnosed with a heart problem less than a year ago. Her physician knew about the cardiac work being done at Tenwek and referred Prudence to the hospital. She is scheduled for the cardiac team’s second surgery of the week.
“We know that God brought us here,” said Prudence’s mother, Ednah.
“Please pray for her.”