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Journalist seeks N7.5 m to save son with heart problem

A female journalist, Mrs Mercy Omoike, has appealed to kind-hearted Nigerians, corporate organisations and the three tiers of government for financial assistance for a heart surgery for her nine-week-old baby.

Omoike, who works with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the baby boy, Shalom, was born on Oct. 23, with a heart problem and need N7.5 million for surgery.

She said the boy was discharged from Bee Hess Hospital, Akowonjo, Lagos, on Nov. 3, 2020, where he was born.

According to her, Shalom was an outpatient for two weeks at the private hospital, Bee Hess Hospital, before he was referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, on Nov. 27.

“He has since been an outpatient at the Paediatric Cardiology Unit of LUTH.

“Shalom has been placed on observation until he is three months old to avoid complications during surgery because of his present age,’’ Omoike said.

She said the boy was born with a symptomatic congenital heart disease confirmed by Echocardiography as Transposition of the Great Arteries, large-sized inlet Ventricular Septal Defect (VSDs) and multiple muscular VSDs.

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust described Transposition of the Great Arteries as “a birth defect of the heart’’.

“It is where the two main arteries carrying blood out of the heart – the main pulmonary artery and the aorta – are switched in position or transposed.

“The aorta is attached to the right-sided pumping chamber (ventricle) instead of the left, and the pulmonary artery is attached to the left-sided pumping chamber (ventricle) instead of the right.

“This means that blood flows to the lungs and picks up oxygen but is pumped back to the lungs instead of travelling around the body. Blood flowing round the body is unable to reach the lungs to pick up oxygen and continues circulating.”

Omoike said: “When Shalom was born, he had difficulty in breathing and had to be placed on oxygen for 10 days to stabilise him.

“A scan, chest X-ray and ECG were carried out on him to determine the fast breathing, because he kept breathing very fast, though he was still on oxygen.”

Omoike said that outcome of the various tests showed Shalom’s heart challenge.

The doctors then advised that a corrective surgery be done on him before three months to forestall further complications.

She said that doctors in LUTH contacted some doctors in India and sent Shalom’s medical report and videos to them in preparation for the corrective surgery.

On why the referral to an Indian hospital for the corrective surgery, Omoike said that the doctor’s referral was based on the complexity of Shalom’s heart condition.

She said that financial support was needed for Shalom’s surgery, visa, and travel expenses to India for the surgical intervention.

“I appeal to Nigerians to come to the aid of Shalom and give him the opportunity to grow up normally and have his heart fixed,” she said.

Omoike appealed to kind-hearted Nigerians to donate for the surgery through the account details: Omoike, Omozokpia Shalom, Zenith Bank Account number 2052022603.

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