University Hospital surgeons repair Mongolian baby’s heart
Tuvshintur was born with a hole in his heart, which forced him to fight against low oxygen levels and poor circulation. There is no medical care in his hometown so the nonprofit volunteer group, HeartGift, helped identify a solution: a partnership here in San Antonio.
Leslie Davis Met, the executive director of HeartGift said, “While Mongolia has made great strides to modernize, they don’t offer pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.” It’s a typical scenario in underdeveloped countries, and exactly why HeartGift exists.
Using partners at the University Health System, UT Kids, and the UT Health Science Center, Tuvshintur was matched with a surgeon, a hospital, a host family and a medical plan. Dr. Adil Husain, the head of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center feels strongly about what these partners can do to save lives, but also prove the value of seeking global understanding and cooperation.
“HeartGift is an opportunity to transcend all those differences amongst us and bring us together,” Husain said. “We want to serve the children and we want to serve this life while on this earth.”
It’s been five weeks since Tuvshintur’s family came to San Antonio and in that time he’s transformed from a lethargic baby, to an energetic handful. His mother, Battsetseg Ganbaatar said, “Now he is very active. He’s crawling a lot and doing a lot of things. He’s busy, you know.”
Also watching the transformation was Gowa Borzigin, a handpicked host from Mongolia. She smoothed over the cultural and linguistic issues during the family’s stay on behalf of HeartGift. “It is a most rewarding experience for me. I can see the baby recovering immediately after the surgery, becoming active, showing big smiles,” Borzigin said.
The family returns to Mongolia on Thursday with a lot of goodwill, and a medical plan so that Tuvshintur’s health can be monitored. If you would like more information on HeartGift click here.
By Ursula Pari