Rabab with the heart surgeon during consultation
Rabab* is a 16-year-old girl from Najaf. She was forced to leave school because of her critical heart condition. Rabab’s family could not do anything to help her because their financial situation meant they could not afford to pay the medical expenses required for treatment.
Rabab and her family eventually lost hope and with treatment being delayed further, Rabab’s life was at risk.
After a consultation with a Heart Surgeon at Al-Sadr hospital, the Dr advised Rabab to do an Echocardiogram (ECHO test), the test showed an urgent need for a catheterisation operation which Rabab underwent just a day after as a private patient in Al-Sadr Hospital (otherwise the waiting list for treatment is several months). The whole cost of the operation was covered by Noor Orphans Fund’s medical aid donations.
The result of the catheterisation showed that Rabab needed urgent open heart surgery because of a congenital heart malformation (ventricular septal defect which defined as an opening between the right and left heart chamber). Undergoing this surgery was vital to increase her chances of survival as the condition means that at any time she may suffer from deficient oxygen levels and pass away.
*The name of the orphan has been changed to protect their privacy.
We were racing against time, the operation is very critical and needed to be done as soon as possible (every day her heart condition deteriorated and the likelihood of the operation succeeding became less and less).
The hear surgeon advised to do the operation in one the following hospitals:
Because the operation needed to be done right away as advised by specialists, it was not convenient to wait for the American Mission. Also, India was not an option either because of the need of visa which takes long time. Therefore, the best option was to do the operation in Tehran.
Another challenge we faced was that Rabab’s passport had expired and renewing it required a legal guardian, who had been her grandmother before she past away. Her mother is also her legal guardian but she is married and lives in Basrah (another city). The family tried to change the legal guardian but it took over 2 weeks and they did not succeed. A Noor Orphans Fund member of staff went to the immigration office to meet the responsible officer on the case and explained to them the urgency of Rabab’s medical condition after which she got her passport renewal in a couple of days.
Rabab after the Catheterisation in the hospital
NOF sent Rabab, her brother and her aunt to Tehran, Iran. Iraqi volunteers helped in booking an urgent appointment with the best heart surgeon in the best hospital in Tehran.
The open heart surgery was a success and Rabab is dreaming of living a normal life like other girls her age, getting married and continuing her studies.