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Pakistani baby awaits surgery

By Our Staff Reporter

Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

A 10-day old Pakistani baby, Mohammed Ahmed Khan, at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad.

BANGALORE, JULY 30. Just over a year after the little Pakistani girl, Noor Fathima, crossed the Indian border so that doctors in Bangalore could mend her imperfectly formed heart, another child, this time a newborn, was saved while on a flight to the same city hospital.

On Wednesday, Ahmed (then 10 days old), accompanied by his mother and uncle, were on an Indian Airlines flight to Bangalore for treatment at the Narayana Hrudayalaya when he developed complications. A doctor on board, K.G. Jayadevappa, examined the baby and advised immediate intensive medical care. The pilot, G. S. Marwah, then informed the Hyderabad airport and diverted the flight.

Declared stable

The plane landed at the airport at 10.05 p.m. The airport staff and medical officers rushed the baby to the nearby Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS). Hospital officials declared the condition of the infant as "stable" by 11.30 p.m. Airport officials visited KIMS on Thursday and later that night, the Pakistanis reached here by another IA flight.

Rajesh Sharma, paediatric cardiac surgeon at the Narayana Hrudayalaya, has been in constant touch with the doctors at KIMS. Dr. Sharma, who operated on Noor a year ago, is also Ahmed's doctor. "When he was four days old, his parents contacted me," he told The Hindu.

Complex operation

He said the boy had a complex heart defect. Devi Shetty, chairman and managing director of Narayana Hrudayalaya, said Ahmed had "transposition of the great arteries." "Normally, the right ventricle of the heart connects to the pulmonary artery and the left ventricle to the aorta. In Ahmed, it is the reverse — the right ventricle connects to the aorta, the left to the pulmonary artery." Such conditions are severe and a complex "arterial switch operation" has to be performed "before the baby is two weeks old."

On Friday, Narayana Hrudayalaya authorities said the baby was in the hospital's intensive care unit and the surgery would be possible early next week. The arduous journey had not helped and the baby had to stabilise first, they added.

Anniversary

July 2004 marked the anniversary of Noor's visit to the city. She was born with holes in the heart that in turn, caused obstructions in the blood flow to her lungs.

When Noor and her parents, Nadeem and Tayyaba, were here there was an outpouring of friendship from Bangaloreans. A Dosti Fund was set up to help poor Pakistani children needing heart operations. Donations from people here and in Pakistan were steady in the beginning but tapered off as the months went by.

Minister lauds IA

Our Special Correspondent reports from New Delhi:

The Minister of State of Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, has commended Indian Airlines for taking prompt action in diverting its flight to Hyderabad which helped save little Ahmed's life.

"Indian Airlines has proved itself once again in showing empathy and care towards its passengers. The Commander of the flight, Capt. Sanjeev Marwah, should be praised for his wonderful humanitarian act in providing timely medical assistance to the Pakistani infant on board IC-904 flight of July 28. It will send a positive signal about Indian Airlines services in the Indian aviation industry,'' the Minister said.

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