Lily B. Libo-on (KT Impact) / 27 July 2014
The plight of the boy who suffers from Tetralogy of Fallot was reported by Khaleej Times on June 12 and subsequently, his parents’ SOS has been answered.
The family of Gil Merced, a 10-year-old Filipino boy suffering from a rare congenital heart defect, now have a new heart put in them.
The plight of the boy who suffers from Tetralogy of Fallot — four anatomical abnormalities of the heart which cause the oxygen level to drop, turning the patient blue — was reported by Khaleej Times on June 12 and subsequently, his parents’ SOS has been answered.
Dr Azad Moopen, chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare and founder of Dr Moopen’s Foundation, has offered to bear the expenses for the life-saving surgery Gil needs at Aster Medcity in India’s Kochi city. His foundation will sponsor the operation.
Aster DM Healthcare will also arrange their stay in Kochi.
So now Gil and his parents will be travelling to Kochi for the operation that will change the boy’s life.
Before Dr Moopen stepped in, the fate of the youngster hung in the balance as his parents lacked the means to raise the money needed for the operation.
His mother Mercedita, 52, has been working in Dubai for seven years as a teaching assistant. Her salary of Dh2,250 is barely enough to meet the daily needs of the family.
Gil’s father used to work in Dubai. But the company he was working with was sold. He lost his job and had to leave the UAE.
The couple’s two older sons are old enough to work. But both are employed as janitors and their incomes allow them to barely survive.
The family stays in Satwa, sharing a room. The church they attend — St Mary’s parish church in Oud Metha — sought to help them out.
Susan Jose, a volunteer handling the charity initiative at St Mary’s, brought Gil’s case to the attention of Khaleej Times and ever since the daily reported the boy’s plight, many kind-hearted readers responded to the call for financial assistance.
Dr Moopen’s offer was a Godsend to the struggling family.
Dr Sajan Koshy, the chief paeditric cardiac surgeon at Aster Medcity, will conduct the operation. Dr T.M. Jaison, specialist cardiologist at the Aster Jubilee medical complex in Dubai, will provide follow-up care. Technological marvels such as teleconferencing links between India and Dubai will also come to Gil’s aid, facilitating post-operation care.
The 10-year-old’s is not an isolated case. Dr Moopen has offered to sponsor cardiac surgeries for 50 children from the Philippines community who come from underprivileged families.
The operations are done through the “Healing Touch” programme of Dr Moopen’s Foundation in the Philippines. So far, 19 operations have been conducted successfully.