“We did not know when my wife was pregnant, and after delivery, it came as a shock to us. Our baby has been struggling with this heart problem all this while. She cannot breathe!”
Even before they could hold her, even before they could contemplate on names, even before they could express their joy, Naveen and Rukmini heard from their doctor that their new born baby girl had a heart defect, and she needed to be wheeled to the ICU. 24 days in, she is fighting for her life, and her parents are struggling to pay for a surgery that can save her heart.
“At the other hospital, they neglected to tell us in the 5th month, or anytime during the pregnancy. It came to us as a shock, and now our baby girl is in a critical condition.”
Rukmini and Naveen did not know their baby had a congenital heart defect. They had no reason to suspect anything wrong with this pregnancy. After all, their first child was healthy. After a normal delivery, they were shocked when their child was having trouble breathing. She was taken to the NICU where she remained for 7 days, and they did not know what the problem was, except that she was suffering from a respiratory issue.
“We demanded for our baby to be moved elsewhere. Only at Manipal, we got to know she has always had switched arteries. She needs a surgery to survive.”
Even at Manipal, Rukmini’s baby is in the NICU. The delay in bringing her in has caused her condition to deteriorate. There can be no time wasted in her treatment but these parents are struggling to fund the open-heart surgery to correct the defect.
This baby has TGA (transposition of great arteries) where the aorta (blood vessel that gives oxygen to the whole body) is connected to the right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery (blood vessel which pumps to the lungs) is connected to the left ventricle. Her body is getting bad blood – less oxygen.
“I get to see my baby only once, and my wife gets to see her only twice. It is painful to know that our daughter is suffering and not be able to do much about it.”
Until their baby undergoes surgery and gets better, Rukmini and Naveen have limited contact to avoid the risk of infection. These parents are trying hard to hide their grief and push through until their little one recovers. What they are unable to do is arrange for funds that will go beyond Rs. 13 lakhs. If they had brought her in before, this surgery would have been affordable.
Naveen is a farmer. His income suffered from the dry seasons during the past two years. For now, he is surviving on a few thousand a month from their land in the village and cares for his parents and grandparents. He needs financial assistance to save his baby girl.
“Most of the time, I just stare at her through the glass. Under all those pipes, she seems so weak and tiny. She is sedated because it will hurt her or she will tear them off. I just wish I could bring her out of this situation safe and healthy.”
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