Artur is was born a fighter.
Artur was born on the 1st of September in Luhansk, the easternmost city of Ukraine. Luhansk has been under the control of the separatist rebel group since 2014, and is known as “Luhansk People’s Republic.” This city was nearly destroyed by the war in 2014 and many public services are difficult to obtain, including quality care at hospitals.
When Artur was 5 days old, his mother noticed he was breathing very fast and turning blue. She took him to the hospital in Luhansk but the doctors were unable to give a definite diagnosis and sent him home. Weeks continued and Artur’s mother became more concerned with her baby’s blue color. Again she went to the hospital and after several tests, the doctor thought he noticed something wrong with Artur’s heart. Finally the doctor in Luhansk called the Kharkiv Cardiac Center. This doctor sent a photo of Artur’s chest x-ray to Kharkiv pediatric cardiac surgeon Olga Buchevna and she recommended Artur be transferred immediately to Kharkiv.
Upon his arrival at the hospital in Kharkiv, cardiologist Daria Kulikova performed a echocardiogram and diagnosed Artur with Transposition of the Great Arteries, plus a tiny ASD and tiny VSD. This heart defect usually must be repaired within two weeks of age, and Artur’s was very severe. He was not getting enough blood to his body or brain, with oxygen saturation levels barely 50%. His surgery would be complicated. Luckily our team arrived three days later and on October 9th, Artur received his life saving heart surgery. Kharkiv pediatric cardiac surgeon, Olga Buchevna, performed this surgery flawlessly with assistance from Cardiac Alliance surgeon Kathleen Fenton. Artur recovered quickly in the ICU and was drinking milk two days after surgery. His serious facial expressions proved to us that this little boy has a strong will to survive.
There are babies like Artur around the globe, fighting for their lives, waiting for medical assistance to mend their heart defects before it’s too late.
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 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.
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.
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.
Cardiac Alliance has been working in Tobruk, Libya and Kharkiv, Ukraine over the last few weeks and we have operated on 43 children in these 2 cities.
Both Libya and Ukraine are experiencing uncertainty and conflict that many of us will struggle to imagine. However, it is not so hard to imagine the heartache that a parent feels when they have a sick child. These mothers and many like them in developing nations all have a child with a congenital heart defect and are faced with the real possibility that their child will never receive surgery.
The Novick Cardiac Alliance strives to help these parents and so, despite the conflicts, we have been working in these countries to provide much needed surgery and care to children.Though we feel a sense of satisfaction in being able to help these children we also feel a sense of urgency and disappointment- Because for every child that receives surgery there are many many more that will not.
The sad truth is that some children will die waiting. We all have the power to change a life together and give a family a brighter future.
Our first mission to the city of Tobruk, Libya was a huge success!
As Dr. Novick put it: “It wasn’t a particularly difficult or eventful trip…but the locals REALLY appreciated us being there.”
After 16 successful cases, closing ceremonies involved a lot of hugs, cake, selfies, and hand shakes. Thanks to all of our donors, volunteers, staff, and supporters who helped make it possible—we’re grateful for all of you!
Here’s a quick update from Dr. Novick and the team, now en route home:
We’re leaving Libya today after providing the final two operations on Thursday, both extubated by 8 p.m., The Benghazi Medical Center team is staying behind for a few days to get all the children discharged from the hospital. We all flew to Al Bayda, then from there we spread out across the globe to our homes on Saturday. We spent a few hours with the Libyan Minister of Health discussing the needs at Tobruk Hospital so it is better prepared for our next trip. The Kharkiv team finishes up today as well and will head home tomorrow. Next up, Honduras and Macedonia starting end of next week. I will be traveling to Tehran, Iran and Tashkent, Uzbekistan over the next month to review sites for future assistance, wish me luck. —Dr No
A few more photos from the trip:
Amid the crisis in Ukraine, our team continues to save little hearts.
Meet Liza Yaroshenco. She is a lucky 3-month-old baby girl who is from Kharkiv, Ukraine.
When Liza was 6 weeks old, a doctor told her mother, Tonya, that Liza had a heart murmur. This doctor said the murmur would go away by the time Liza was 3 years old, but her mother knew something wasn’t right and began the search for a new doctor for a second opinion.
Because of her mother’s dedication, Liza found herself at the Kharkiv Center for Cardiac Surgery. Here she had a Catheterization procedure by Dr. Igor Polivenok and was told her baby desperately needed heart surgery to survive.
Tonya took Liza home to wait for the Cardiac Alliance team to arrive in February. On February 4th, Liza received heart surgery performed by Kharkiv pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. Olga Buchneva, alongside Cardiac Alliance surgeon Dr. Marcelo Cardarelli.
Thanks to this collaboration and her mother’s love, Liza is now home with a happy heart.
At Novick Cardiac Alliance we want to be able to care for more children like baby Liza and to make sure that all mothers know that no matter where they live their children can get the specialist care they need to live a happy and healthy life.
Help us to make this possible by Donating today or Volunteer your time and expertise to look after these children the way they deserve.