Blog :

Mila is Ready to Run!

Mila is Ready to Run!

Only 2 weeks after her first birthday – baby Mila has already had 2 open heart operations. Mila is a 1 year baby old girl from a small town 60km south east of Skopje. She lives with her mother, father, her brother Luka and her grandparents. The family first knew that Mila had a heart defect when she was just 3 moths old, her pediatrician heard an abnormal sound on her heart and she was referred to a hospital in a nearby city, where they performed an ECHO and diagnosed her with a heart defect.

Mila eating Chocolate post surgery

Mila’s mother could see that she was not growing in her weight like normal children, and was sweating more than is normal. In September 2014 Dr Marcelo Cardarelli and Dr Vladimir Chadikovski performed her first operation to relieve the obstruction, and to help Mila’s pulmonary arteries to grow ready for a complete repair. In February 2014 Mila completed her surgery with closure of her VSD by the same surgical team, Dr Chadikovsky under the training of Dr Cardarelliwas referred to the cardiology doctors in the University Children’s Hospital in Skopje, and in September 2014 she underwent the first of two heart operations.

Mila and her motherMila had a defect called Tetralogy of Fallot – often referred to as “blue baby syndrome”. Mila had an obstruction of the blood flow to the lungs (pulmonary artery stenosis), very small pulmonary arteries, and a hole in the heart (ventricular septal defect – VSD). Mila’s surgery was made possible in this instance with the shared expertise of the team in Skopje and the volunteers and staff of the Novick Cardiac Alliance. With no existing pediatric cardiac surgical services inside Macedonia – Mila’s mother recounted that;

It is hard to imagine, but without this team we do not know what would have happened to Mila- we are very grateful.

3 days after her second surgery Mila was eating normally, playing and starting to walk in the ICU she had her shoes on already as she was all done with heart problems and ready to run!

Mila ready to go

 

Help us to help more children like Mila get ready to run! Clicke here to Donate or Volunteeer with us now. You can make a real difference in a child’s life today.

 

Meet Munam, His City’s First-Ever Heart Surgery Recipient

Meet Munam, His City’s First-Ever Heart Surgery Recipient

This is Munam.

This lucky little guy just became the first open heart surgery recipient in the history of his city!

Having no access to treatment and very little money, Munam’s mother and father spent their savings renting cars and buying expensive Egyptian visas to travel back and forth across the border seeking care for their son. Despite the endless border-hopping, in the end Munam’s parents simply couldn’t afford the cost of surgery in Egypt.

Baby Munam after heart surgery

They had nearly given up hope when they heard about a ‘foreign team’ of heart specialists who were coming to do operations in their own city! Munam’s parents could hardly believe it, but they began to hope again.

Novick Cardiac Alliance arrived and, after assessing Munam, decided that Munam could have his operation and that he would be the very first operation! It was a complete success, and four days later he was ready to go home.

Shortly after Dr. Novick and the team provided Munam with surgery, his mother told us,

“My life was only night, but you brought the morning. Thank you!

Munam ready to go home

Are you ready to ‘bring the morning’ for more moms like Munam’s? Your donation helps us continue our lifesaving work around the world. Click here to give now.

3 Days in the Life of Juliana

3 Days in the Life of Juliana

This is Juliana, she is 2 years old and has been sick for all of her life. She was born in Ukraine and her parents have worried about her since they found out she had a heart defect as a baby. Juliana could not play like other children and got tired very easily. She is a very determined little girl though , her parents say she is

‘a real little lady’ and already knows what she wants!

Juliana before surgeryJuliana was born with Aortic Valve Dysplasia (an abnormal aortic valve) and had an Aortic Valvuloplasty (repair of the valve) during the recent Novick Cardiac Alliance trip to Ukraine. Specialists from Cardiac Alliance have been working consistently with the team in Ukraine for 6 years and this operation was performed completely by the Ukrainian surgeon Dr Olga Buchneva with guidance and support from the Cardiac Alliance team surgeon, Dr Marcelo Cardarelli.

After 2 long years of waiting Juliana had her operation on 10th of February this year and just 2 hours after coming to the intensive care unit she began the serious business of coloring and drawing.

Julia colouring

Despite having such a big operation Juliana only had to spend one day in the intensive care unit and was on the ward by the next day. Just two days later she was not only doing well – she was trying to ride a trike! As her parents have said she really knows what she wants and now her heart is as healthy as her spirit! We believe there will be no stopping this little girl – her suffering is in the past and the sky is her limit.

Juliana 2

Help us to ease the suffering of more children like Juliana. Novick Cardiac Alliance are currently supporting the development of quality pediatric cardiac care services in several countries around the world, there are many more children, just like little Juliana, waiting for our help. Click here to Donate or give two weeks of your time and expertise as a Medical Volunteer.

Volunteer Story- A Vision of Nursing

Volunteer Story- A Vision of Nursing

By Amalie Smith

I’m not sure how to begin writing about my first volunteer trip with Cardiac Alliance. I could write about my feelings throughout the two weeks, the experience of working with the local nurses, the awesome Cardiac Alliance staff, patient stories, and more.

The first thing that struck me is the reality of having limited supplies and resources. At home, our stock seems endless. When I run out of something on the unit, I call central supply and get more. If we ran out, we’d have to get creative and make do with what we had by cutting, taping, cleaning and reusing, or simply going without. For example when we ran out of blood test cartridges, we had to rely on accurate physical assessment skills instead of lab tests. In addition to limited material supplies, I was stripped of my usual informational resources. When questions arose, there was no internet or computer to look up the answer. My team members became my sole resource.

Amalie teaching in ICU

The incredible teamwork and teaching that occurred are the other major things that stick out in my mind. I was the youngest and least experienced nurse in the group – both at working in PICU and at doing any sort of medical volunteering. Even so, I always felt supported by the other nurses, the nurse practitioner, and the intensivist. We all worked in the same room together, which at times was cramped and hectic. However, I think it led to better teamwork and teaching as everyone was always right there to lend a hand or to answer a question.

Amalie with other team members
Another thing that really struck me was how the doctor and NP on the trip often pitched in with things that are considered “nurses duties” at home. Without even asking, they would jump in and help transfer patients out of bed, figure out how to use pieces of equipment, or draw up medications. Most importantly, they were some of the best teachers I’ve spent time with.  It seems to me that this mutual respect and trust are the reasons why the Alliance staff nurses are so amazingly knowledgeable, critically thinking and confident.

Amalie in Theatre Libya

The thing I missed most about working at home was my ability to easily communicate with parents and children. One of the most rewarding things about nursing is comforting a worried mother, so a major language barrier can make you feel useless. Sometimes the only thing I could do was put my arm around a mother, and tell her that the baby was doing well using one or two Arabic words.

Amalie in ICU LibyaAs the other nurses had predicted, I initially felt very disoriented and scared to be without my hospital’s supplies, protocols and resources. But in the end,

I learned what pure nursing looks like.

It was challenging work, and I felt like a new graduate again at times but I believe it’s what I needed to get a vision of the kind of nurse that I can strive to be. I honestly hope I get the opportunity to go back for more.