Jacksonville Helps Provide Ugandan Kids Second Chance at Life

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This week, 4-year-old Joshua and 12-year-old Manjeri flew thousands
of miles to Jacksonville, Fla., from their homes in Uganda to receive
life-saving heart surgery. Although it’s a
long, difficult trip for these sick kids, it may be the only way to
save their lives.

Joshua and Manjeri have congenital heart defects
that were identified by Dr. Stephanie Lacey, a pediatric cardiologist
at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, during one of her trips to screen
children in Kampala, Uganda, through Samaritan’s Purse’s Children’s
Heart Project. Lacey found that both children suffer from a
life-threatening condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which is a
hole between the two ventricles.

This serious condition can cause a
chronic lack of circulation, causing the child to be cyanotic, or blue
in color, due to lack of oxygen. If left untreated, many TOF patients
die before their 20th birthday.

Through a collaborative effort
with Samaritan’s Purse, Jacksonville-based Patrons of the Hearts and
Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Manjeri and Joshua will
soon be on the road to recovery with fixed hearts.

are families who have almost given up hope because they know it is only
a matter of time before their kids will die from their heart
conditions,” said Cindy Bonsall, director of Children’s Heart Project at Samaritan’s Purse. “We know that Joshua and Manjeri will soon receive the treatment they need from the expert team at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.”

Ettedgui, M.D., founder of Patrons of the Hearts and medical director
of the University of Florida Pediatric Cardiovascular Center affiliated
with Wolfson, said: “Our mission at Patrons of the Hearts is
to bring children with congenital heart disease from developing
countries to Jacksonville for life-saving heart care. We are
honored to have served nearly 50 children from around the world and to
take care of Joshua and Manjeri so that they may have a much better
quality of life.”

Joshua and
Manjeri had cardiac catheterization procedures on June 1. They both will require open-heart surgery, which is
scheduled June 2 for Joshua and June 6 for Manjeri. The
procedures will be performed by Eric Ceithaml, M.D., chief of cardiovascular surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. The children and their mothers are staying with a family in the Jacksonville area.

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