This is the story of a 20-day-old cherub who visited SSSIHMS regularly for her treatment, and is today a 15-year-old girl, waiting eagerly for her tenth class results. All along her life it was SSSIHMS that cared and cured.
It is not often that a baby of six days gets admitted for breathlessness. But when Aishwarya, just six days old, showed signs of acute breathlessness she was rushed to one of Kerala’s leading medical college hospitals, where the parents were told that the six day old child needed a major heart surgery! A part of her heart had narrowed down and was not pumping enough blood causing the breathlessness. “Coarctation of the Aorta, which means the Aorta has narrowed,” the doctors informed the puzzled and anxious parents.
The father, an agriculturist with modest earning, was devastated. The family had neither the mind nor the means to think of a major cardiac surgery on their baby. The paediatrician at the medical college hospital suggested that they visit Sri Sathya Sai Hospital in Bengaluru, where she could be treated free.
And it was thus that the ‘baby-patient’ came to SSSIHMS as a 20-day-old child. An echocardiogram was done along with other necessary clinical tests and the doctors advised the family that the baby was too weak to withstand surgery and that they should return after three months. They were prescribed medicines till then.
Though disappointed the parents were hopeful as they realised that the hospital did not charge them for anything and that the doctors were only advising keeping in mind the condition of the baby. After three months the parents visited the hospital along with the baby, with the fond hope of getting operated. But as luck would have it once again they were asked to wait for three months, because the doctors told them that the weight of the baby was not adequate for undergoing an operation. Continuing the medicine and keeping their hope alive the baby, on turning one, returned to the hospital with the parents expecting to be admitted for surgery.
An echocardiogram was done and the parents were told that the surgery will be done after another 6 months that is when the child is one-and-a-half-years old. Even though this thought was frustrating the parents realised that what the doctors were saying was only for the good of the child. After continuing with medicines for six more months, the child returned, and this time she was admitted for surgery.
And so the following day, 18 months from the time the heart defect was detected first, Aishwarya underwent surgery at SSSIHMS. The procedure was known as CoA Dilatation (Coarctation of Aorta dilatation), which involved widening the narrow part of the Aorta using a balloon. The child was in the post-operative ward for just three days, after which she was discharged in healthy condition. From then on till now Aishwarya has visited the hospital every year for her check-up, and is continuing her medicines. Today the child is 15 years, has written her Class 10 exam and is eagerly awaiting her results.
The parents are thankful to the paediatrician who advised them to come to SSSIHMS in the first place. “If it was not for his suggestion, today I would not have seen my daughter like this,” says the emotional father. “Coming here has given my family immense happiness for which I have no words to explain,” he says. He has regret, though. “I missed seeing Baba in physical form, but I see Him through all the hands that serve here.” He admires the atmosphere at SSSIHMS where doctors and nurses are always ready to help, and speak politely. “Though Baba physically is no longer there, He has left behind a place where we feel His Presence always. This itself heals more than 75% of your illness!” he says with gratitude.

(As told to and written by Mrs. Sheela Sai Prasaad)

Note to the Reader:
Aorta is the main highway through which the blood pumped by heart is supplied to every part of the body. CoA is a an obstruction to this blood flow at the point where this trunk bends down.

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