08 November 2011
By Vijay Singh
Navi Mumbai India
Gauri is a special girl with an extraordinary survival instinct. She was born prematurely at 24 weeks of her mother’s pregnancy, weighed a measly 580gm and had a complex heart condition that made her gasp for breath. Her young parents, however, rushed from Alibaug to Panvel and achieved a miracle of sorts: their daughter is perhaps one of the youngest and lightest Indians to successfully undergo a heart surgery.
The extra–cardiac surgery was carried out on September 24 at Sai Child Care Clinic. The clinic’s Dr Mahesh A Mohite told TOI: “For over a month since the baby’s cardiac surgery, we were only observing her to see if she would survive. Today, I can happily say that the baby is growing healthily, and weighs 1.08 kg.’’ Pune–based neo–natal surgeon Dr Shashank Shrotriya was called to Panvel to perform the operation on the fragile child who weighed a little more than a mobile phone.MEDICAL MARVEL ‘We thank docs & God for saving her
Mumbai: Dr Shashank Shrotriya, who works at KEM Hospital in Pune, performed the heart operation on 20–day–old Gauri. “This is perhaps the first time in India that a baby weighing a mere 580gm has had a heart surgery. We normally do notcarry outsurgery on babies weighing below 1kg; so it is an extraordinary feat for thebaby,’’ Dr Shrotriyasaid.
In 2005, an India–born surgeon, Dr V Mohan Reddy, had operated on what is now officially accepted as the youngest person to undergo an open heartsurgery.Heoperatedon a 700–gm premature boy in Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford. The PDA (patent ductus arteriosus, a cogenital disorder of the heart) fixing that was done in Gauri’s casewas not an open heartsurgery.However,itwasstill a very delicate and risky operation, considering thebaby’sweight.
“PDA is one of the commonest conditions necessitating operating on a child’sheart. The child is not required to be put on the heart–lung machine,’’ said Dr Suresh Rao, chief paediatric cardiac surgeon with Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, Andheri. The hospital has regularly operated on newborns with PDA but most of havebeen in the 600–700gm range. “If this child weighed 580gm, she could be one of the youngest to undergo a heart surgery in India,’’ saidthedoctor.
Gauriwas rushedfrom Alibaug to Panvel by her parents, Rajendra Patil andAshwini,on the day she was born, September 5. “As there was no ventilator for our girl at Alibaug, we had to rush her to Panvel. The doctors at Alibaug told us that she may not even survive the three–hour roadtrip toPanvel,’’ recalled the child’s father, Rajendra Patil, who works at the zilla parishadofficein Alibaug.
Even at Panvel, the doctors shared their concern of the high risk the operation involved as the baby was underweight and had respiratory complications.Buther parents were ready to take all risks to save their firstborn child. On September 24,theheartoperation was successfully performed. It took over 90 minutes to correct an abnormal connection of a particular vessel to two major blood vessels. The parents are relieved to learn that they can take Gauri home by Thursday. “Wehavespent aroundRs5lakhsinceher birth,but we thank the doctors and God for saving our girl,’’ saidPatil. The Patils with their ‘miracle’ baby Gauri