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Parents found disallowing children to undergo critical heart surgery

May 9, 2019 10:02 am

An experienced pediatric heart surgeon has raised concerns about the failure of some parents to allow their children to undergo surgery.

Dr. Ashish Katewa, who recently completed heart surgeries on 17 of our children as part of the Sai Prema Foundation ‘Gift of Life initiative’, says the refusal of parents is a huge challenge.

Dr. Katewa has conducted over 5000 surgeries in his career to date, however, one of the issues he’s faced in Fiji is scared and nervous parents.

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We actually had a family who we scheduled for surgery but then after discussions, the family decided they would not opt for surgery. The risk we gave them was only five percent but 95 percent survival. However, they still chose not to operate.

The surgeon has admitted it’s also a failure on their part because they weren’t able to convince the parents to allow their child to undergo the required operations.


[Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Ashish Katewa] 

However, he says there should be no reason for parents to hold back especially when the surgery is free.

This fear of the parents over their children undergoing surgery can only be fixed with more awareness.

Dr. Katewa says Fiji has some of the latest equipment in heart surgery and the success rate is high.

With the current technology available together with the right expertise available most can be fixed and the chances of surviving a heart surgery is high whereas near certainty that the child may not survive long enough or even if the child survives with an untreated heart defect, it will be a life crippled with severe morbidities.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has commended the work of the foundation and noted the assistance of a group of local young cardiac doctors in saving children’s lives.

We have a group of young doctors and nurses who have an interest in children’s hearts and rheumatic heart disease is one that affects a lot of our children and adults apart from the congenital problems they have.

[Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete] 

Meanwhile, the recent Sai Prema mission saw 17 Fijian children given a new lease on life with the youngest patient a three-month-old baby, while the oldest was a 14-year-girl.

 

 

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