Parents celebrate daughter’s new lease on life following complicated heart surgery doctors did for free
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Johannesburg - The parents of a 4-year-old girl who recently underwent complicated heart surgery are celebrating their daughter’s new lease on life after a team of doctors performed the surgery free of charge.
The Ngwenya family say they are grateful to the two health-care companies, Medipost Holdings and the Netcare Foundation, which provided the resources needed for their daughter Amara’s intricate surgery to correct a hole in her heart, known as an atrial septal defect.
Little Amara was the latest beneficiary of the Heart-to-Heart Campaign, a corporate social investment match-funding initiative that works to mobilise resources for life-saving operations for children with heart conditions.
Amara’s mother, Runel Ngwenya, said: “Two years ago, Amara developed a fever and was so ill that she had to be admitted for about two weeks. The doctors diagnosed rheumatic fever and found that her heart was beating abnormally.
“After that, Amara wasn’t eating or growing normally like other kids. As parents, we were so worried about our daughter’s health, especially because we are both unemployed and could not afford medical aid. We are grateful to the foundation for their half of the donation, which enabled our daughter to get the specialised medical intervention that will hopefully allow her to live a full and normal life.”
Maboneng Heart and Lung Institute cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Erich Schürmann said: “Amara was referred to us with a hole between the two upper chambers of her heart, which required a specialised procedure to correct. If untreated, the hole in the septum the size Amara had could have been life-threatening because, as the child grows the heart defect ultimately damages the arteries of the lungs.”
Schürmann was one of the cardiothoracic surgeons who, with Dr Martin Myburgh of the Maboneng Heart and Lung Institute, paediatric cardiologist Dr Janine Meares, anaesthetist Dr Krishnee Naidoo and cardiac perfusionist Mogotsi Mophosho, gave their time and expertise at no cost so that Amara could have the surgery.
Medipost Holdings marketing director Rentia Myburgh said: “We are delighted that Amara is recovering well after her operation. She has been incredibly brave, and children like her represent the future. It has been our privilege to contribute funding for her procedure.”
Amara said she dreams of becoming a fairy who will use her magic to make other children fairies so they can help others too.