CARDIAC SURGERY

Quick Summary: An initiative that helped an individual gain access to surgical treatment after having been critically ill due to long-standing cardiac illness.

Despite its deep commitment to inclusiveness and flexibility, the key precept of MegaReach if there ever is one, is that we shall always seek to make a meaningful difference to specific individuals or groups rather than the hypothetical. Therefore, when an avid MARDiTRePer approached us with a request to assist a poor relative, a young lady of 25 years, living in Sri Lanka, who was critically ill due to long-standing cardiac illness, we were more than happy to oblige.

Initial investigations revealed that the young lady had contacted Rheumatic Fever as a child and had undergone cardiac surgery at the age of 13 years due to the manifestation of recognised complications of that disease. However, the condition had continued to deteriorate and her situation was considered near-terminal when the appeal reached us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

assess her fitness for surgery. Then, in the middle of July 2015, the seemingly impossible happened! In a surgical procedure that lasted over seven hours, an expert team led by Dr. Munasignhe, replaced two of the damaged valves and repaired the third. This was all done absolutely free of charge. We are so happy to report that the young lady made a full recovery a few months later.

 

Our own appeal for assistance met with a remarkably quick and promising response from Dr. Mahendra Munasinghe, a leading cardiac surgeon in Sri Lanka. He offered not only to consider helping the young girl, but to first have a complete assessment conducted through a colleague, Dr. Ragunathan, a cardiologist practising in the home town of the patient, Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province in Sri Lanka. The findings, when they came, were not the most promising. He confirmed that the disease process had by now involved three of the four heart valves, and that the only hope remaining was life-saving surgery. However, there was a serious risk that the patient may be unfit to undergo the complicated and invasive procedure that entailed.

It soon became apparent that the procedure, if it was judged feasible, would cost well over £10,000. It also had to be undertaken within a short period of time in order to prevent the condition deteriorating further. These seemingly impossible odds did not defeat Tabitha, the MARDiTRePer who initiated the project. Even as she rallied her fellow students at Plymouth Medical School to raise funds through a series of heart-warming efforts such as cake sales and food stalls, she approached her own network of relatives for more donations. All this raised sufficient funds for the young lady and her father to be transported to and accommodated in  Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, allowing Dr. Munasinghe to conduct further investigations to 

In addition to the fact that this so conclusively demonstrated how one enterprising individual can actually make a lifesaving difference for another, against seemingly insurmountable odds, this project had the most inspirational sub-plot of its own. Tabitha, the MARDiTRer who coordinated the entire project was a child of Tamil refugees who had been forced to flee Sri Lanka due to communal violence. Her relative who had to undergo surgery and Dr. Ragunathan, the cardiologist, were all of the same Tamil origin. Dr. Munasinghe, the most altruistic of cardiac surgeons was a Sinhalese from the opposite side of the ethnic divide. This division had absolutely no impact of how they all came together. MegaReach is so thankful for these inspirational individuals who showed that human goodwill can overcome the most impossible odds.

The Initiator . . .

Hello, my name is Tabitha Neminathan and I joined Plymouth University in 2014, in order to study Medicine. Other than my passion for human biology, I  enjoy baking, a hobby that has proved very useful in raising funds for various Megareach projects.

 

My parents are originally from Sri Lanka and have experienced the poverty that many Sri Lankans live in today. What spurred me to help my relative who was suffering from heart disease was the fact that her family of 8 relied on her eldest sibling's income of just £55 a month and had no way of finding help on their own. That is why I requested MegaReach for help.

 

I love Megreach. Megareach makes things happen to help make differences to lives around the world. Please don’t be discouraged by the challenges you may face when attempting to help someone. There are truly amazing people all around the world who are just so happy to help. MegaReach is a superb avenue to make that magic happen! Please do contact me on tabitha_n_95@hotmail.co.uk if you need assistance on similar projects.

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