What is being described as an Irish-funded, “miracle” operation has saved the life of a one-day old Ukrainian boy, born with one of the world’s rarest of genetic heart defects, giving him his first and what is likely to be his greatest ever Christmas gift.
Baby Yegour was born in in Kiev, on November 9th 2016, with fatal Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome, meaning that his heart was only partially formed and that without emergency surgical intervention he would die within hours.
By an extraordinary co-incidence one of the world’s leading children’s cardiac surgeons Dr. Bill Novick had been working earlier that day with a “flying doctors” mission, funded by Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International, in the nearby Amosov Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery.
Realising that they had just hours to save little Yegour’s life the team from the maternity hospital rushed to the Cardiac Hospital at 1am, woke Dr Novick and appealed to him to come to the rescue. He immediately assembled his team and worked for the next 12 hours to save Yegour’s life.
The race against time was successful. Yegour survived this complex surgery. The following day, the local Cardiac team wept when they saw that Yegour had survived the night because had Dr. Novick not been there, they would not have had the expertise or training to save his life.
CCI’s Voluntary CEO, Adi Roche, was in Kiev at the time of Yegour’s surgery and described Dr. Novick’s work as a “miracle”.
“Yegour owes his life to the kindness and generosity of the Irish people who funded this mission. Dr. Novick has the expertise and knowledge, but without the funding behind this trip Yegour would have most certainly died before the end of the week. It is incredible to see the miracle of life… so fragile and vulnerable, yet so full of hope. Even though Yegour will be visited by Santa Claus on December 25th, he has already received the best gift he will ever receive…the gift of life and that is thanks to the people of Ireland” said Adi.
During the 12 hours of surgery, Dr. Novick’s team was assisted by an Irish nurse from Rathfarnham, Susan Clarke, who is residing in London and was volunteering on this mission. The doctors and nurses on Dr. Novick’s team were all there on a voluntary basis, meaning that Chernobyl Children International can save a life of a child born with a congenital heart defect for only €1,000. Every mission aims to save as many children as possible, while also running training for local teams, whose training would be run in tandem with surgeries.
Every year, 6,000 children are born with genetic heart diseases and defects in Ukraine. Medical experts say these conditions, some of which they describe as “Chernobyl Heart”, are linked to radiation leaks from the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in 1986. Without emergency surgery, up to 50% of these children will die before their sixth birthday simply because of lack of facilities and training.
Yegour is the first child in Ukraine who has ever survived this complex surgery and will hopefully go forward to experience many more Christmas holidays with his family.