Waiting for Heart Surgery

February 13, 2014 • Mongolia
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The families of two young girls in Mongolia who need heart surgery anxiously wait to hear if their children will receive the operations they need

It was clear something was wrong when Suvd-Erdene was born nearly three years ago. She was not pink like a baby should be and would turn blue when she cried. Her parents were scared for her health.

Help Provide Heart Surgery For A ChildDoctors referred the family to the national children’s hospital in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to be seen by a pediatric cardiologist.

Suvd-Erdene was diagnosed with tetralogy of fallot, a defect that includes four problems within the heart that can be repaired in one operation. In the developed world, this surgery is done before children turn 1. But in Mongolia, there are no options to repair this defect.

Suvd-Erdene, who turns 3 in March, is still waiting to be accepted by a hospital.

Suvd-Erdene, who turns 3 in March, is still waiting to be accepted by a hospital.

In November 2012, a baby named Anudari was born in the same area. Doctors noticed a heart murmur and referred the family to the national children’s hospital.

At 2 weeks old, she was diagnosed with three heart defects by a local pediatric cardiologist. She has a large hole in the bottom ventricles of her heart, a small hole in the top ventricles, and a narrowing of a valve.

Both families live in the outskirts of the Mongolian capital city, in an area where people live in gers (traditional tent-like structures) or small houses with no central heating or indoor plumbing. All water for drinking, bathing, and other uses has to be brought in with containers from a local watering station. Temperatures often drop below -30 degrees.

The parents live in fear for their daughters, and their mothers stay with them constantly. Surgery is the only option to repair these problems, but it isn’t available in Mongolia. And even if it was, they couldn’t possibly afford it. The doctors told the family to look on their own for an organization or church to sponsor their child for surgery abroad.

Children’s Heart Project, the Samaritan’s Purse program that brings boys and girls to North America for life-saving surgery not available in their countries, found out about Suvd-Erdene from a visiting cardiologist who screened her in August 2011. She was placed on the waiting list two months later.

Suvd-Erdene’s mother felt a sense of peace and became hopeful. She saw that someone cared about her daughter and wanted to help her. She said Samaritan’s Purse staff members received them like a family.

Anudari is scheduled to fly to Canada for surgery.

Anudari is scheduled to fly to Canada for surgery.

About a year and a half later, Anudari’s mother found out about Children’s Heart Project and came to our office. A cardiologist confirmed that Anudari’s case was a good fit for the project, and she too was enrolled. Anudari’s mother received a clear explanation of her condition and, for the first time, she truly understood the urgent need for surgery.

Both young girls’ medical records were sent to hospitals in North America for consideration of surgery. In early February, Anudari was accepted by a hospital in Canada. Now she will begin the process of coming for life-saving surgery. Her parents are relieved.

While Anudari’s family celebrates, Suvd-Erdene’s parents still wait for good news. The longer she waits for heart repair, the more her risk of death is increased. She is already almost 3 years old.

Suvd-Erdene's mother worries that her daughter won't receive the life-saving surgery she needs.

Suvd-Erdene’s mother worries that her daughter won’t receive the life-saving surgery she needs.

As they wait, the Children’s Heart Project team is encouraging them to pray. Our team has shared the Gospel with families. Although they have not yet trusted in Jesus as savior, they are searching for spiritual answers.

There are currently around 150 children on the Children’s Heart Project waiting list. Without surgery, these children will die. Bringing them to North America for heart surgery not only gives them a new chance at life but also gives their families the opportunity to see Jesus’ grace and accept His salvation.

By supporting Children’s Heart Project, you can eternally make a difference in the life of a child.

SUPPORT
About one out of every 100 babies has a heart defect that surgeons can routinely repair. Unfortunately, many of them are born in poor or remote places where their families cannot access the cardiac care they urgently need. Through our Children’s Heart Project, Samaritan’s Purse transports boys and girls from places like Bolivia, Mongolia, and Uganda to hospitals in North America. Doctors, hospitals, and host families and churches donate their time and services, but airfare is a major cost—typically $2,200 per person for international flights. For $22, you can share in this cost so that we can offer life-saving surgery and the unsurpassed hope of the Gospel. “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).
Save a Child's Life About one out of every 100 babies has a heart defect that surgeons can routinely repair. Unfortunately, many of them are born in poor or remote places where their families cannot access the cardiac care they urgently need. Through our Children’s Heart Project, Samaritan’s Purse transports boys and girls from places like Bolivia, Mongolia, and Uganda to hospitals in North America. Doctors, hospitals, and host families and churches donate their time and services, but airfare is a major cost—typically $2,200 per person for international flights. For $22, you can share in this cost so that we can offer life-saving surgery and the unsurpassed hope of the Gospel. “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

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Suggested Gift: $2,200 | Share the Cost: $22
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