In 2018, we have been able to sponsor 9 more children and adults in desperate need of corrective heart surgery. Below you’ll also find some updates and stories from a few of the 98 patients we have been honored to provide heart surgery sponsorship for, as well as a few long-term updates! You can also view our complete heart surgery record here, with pictures from every child and adult we have been able to sponsor. Many thanks to all of our supporters: MEDRIX would not be able to help facilitate these surgeries without the generous support of our donors and partners. We sincerely thank you.
Nga is a very sweet and calm 5 1/2 year old girl from Quang Binh Province, one of the poorest provinces of Vietnam that relies heavily on agriculture. Nga’s family holds a “poor card”, a card that determines eligibility for government subsidies. But despite having a poor card, families still must come up with some of the money for health care costs: costs that rise after a child turns 6. Nga’s family was desperate to not only save their daughter’s life, but to secure surgery before her 6th birthday in June, when the cost would rise even more. Thankfully, MEDRIX and several other nonprofit organizations were able to partner to sponsor little Nga’s heart surgery just in time for her to enroll in kindergarten. Her dad was tearing up talking with the MEDRIX team before the surgery, but Nga has been released from the hospital and is in good health!
Tu is a 2 1/2 year old boy living with his parents, siblings and grandparents also in Quang Binh. His parents were very worried about their finances and their “poor card” status. Tu’s father was a fisherman and his mom was a fish broker, but lost their jobs when a steel mill disaster dumped waste into the ocean and caused an international scandal. His father now works on a daily basis as a laborer, but the future is uncertain. His mother was very worried about not yet finding a job to help support the family. Despite the stress of family life, Tu’s mother and grandmother were optimistic about Tu’s surgery. MEDRIX was very happy to support Tu and his family for life-saving heart surgery! Thank you, MEDRIX donors, for giving Tu a new chance at life!
Little Huong is barely 2 years old and needing a slightly more complex heart surgery to correct her congenital defects. She is a very bubbly and active toddler who was accompanied by her loving parents. Huong and her family live in very rural and mountainous Nam Dong District, where MEDRIX has promoted community health programs since 2006. Life in Nam Dong is very difficult with a lack of material goods and necessities. Huong’s father makes a very good living as a laborer compared to other families in Nam Dong, but Huong’s heart defects were more complex, making her surgery almost double of the other heart patients MEDRIX sponsored this year. Luckily we were able to partner with a few other nonprofit organizations in Vietnam to help Huong’s family cover the cost of her surgery. She was just released last week and is doing very well!
Mrs. Mac is a 41 year old married woman with 3 children, including a 1 year old baby, who discovered her heart defect later in life. She and her husband both work as farmers, struggling to support their family. Despite living in an extremely mountainous and rural area of Central Vietnam, Mrs. Mac and her husband traveled to Hue to get treatment at our partner hospital. They had to take a bus, a train and a taxi to reach the “Big City” of Hue from their small village in Quang Ngai Province. They were both afraid of her health prospects from major heart surgery, especially for their younger children who would need a caring mother in their life. Fortunately, Mrs. Mac’s surgery was very successful, and she was discharged just in time for the (Western) New Year on December 30th! As you can tell from the picture, Mrs. Mac is very happy to start her new life in new year of 2017. She and her family send their most sincere thanks to the donors and wish them all the best in the new year.
Ms. Huong is a 34 year old single mother to a 12 year old daughter. Being a single mom in rural Quang Ngai Province is not easy, but Ms. Huong’s life became even more difficult when she was no longer able to work as a waitress in a cafe due to her heart defects. She was very afraid of what might happen to her daughter if she couldn’t support her, or even if she died from her heart problems. Neighbors agreed to watch her daughter and help provide food for her while she traveled to Hue for diagnosis and treatment: her condition was so severe that she was hospitalized immediately after MEDRIX agreed to help support her surgery costs. Ms. Huong had surgery on November 24th and was discharged in early December with a good condition: look how happy she looks after surgery! The MEDRIX staff described the impact of Ms. Huong’s surgery:
Ms. Nguyen Thi Anh Huong…has come back home to fulfill her mission as a mother and a father for her little daughter. Her dream to have good health to support her daughter and give her a good education has come true because of the donors of MEDRIX…Today the two big smiles are shining brightly in this little family.
Hùng the Hero
Hùng is a 10 year old boy not only suffered from a serious heart defect, but faced a difficult family situation: major family conflict at the time of his birth lead his father to give him a name that reflected the pain and strife they were experiencing. His name represented “conflict/war/hate,” loosely translated from Vietnamese. The name was an embarrassment to the boy
and a constant reminder of the broken family relationships. The idea to choose a new name to go along with the new future he was facing after heart surgery was proposed and enthusiastically agreed upon. The boy chose the name “Hùng” to go along with his new lease on life, which translates to ‘hero’ in English. MEDRIX will always fondly think of him as Hùng the Hero who recovered well from surgery and now has a brand new future ahead of him!
Duc is a 16 year old from rural Quang Tri Province, dreaming to go to college and become a computer programmer. But his multiple heart defects required corrective surgery in order to achieve his goals. His family took out loans and borrowed money from family but it was still not enough. Without an education, Duc was facing a lifetime of manual labor which would be extremely risky with his poor health condition. Duc’s mother was very worried because other family members also had heart problems, and feared that surgery would worsen Duc’s heart. Luckily Duc’s surgery was successful and he was released from the hospital less than 2 weeks after surgery! Duc now will be able to finish high school and attend college to achieve his dreams, thank to the generosity of MEDRIX donors.
Little 9 month old Tuyet was born with a heart defect and a rib development defect often referred to as a “pigeon chest” deformity. Note how her little chest puffs out like a bird’s chest often does. Without corrective surgery, Tuyet had a difficult life ahead of her. Luckily her surgery was successful and she returned home with a healthy prognosis. Her parents sincerely thank the donors who made her new future possible, and the staff in Vietnam shares, “My dear donors, you have saved one more life!”
Vinh is a father of three children working as a fisherman when he began to feel overcome with fatigue and difficulty breathing. When he was diagnosed with a severe heart defect, fear set in for Vinh and his wife. Talking about his children in school made Vinh cry, thinking about the future if surgery was not successful: would his children have to quit school to find jobs and support the family if Vinh was unable to work? Thankfully Vinh was recently released from the hospital in a good condition in May 2016. Vinh and his wife Thao want to thank the donors not only for saving Vinh’s life, but for giving his children an opportunity to finish their education.
3 1/2 year old Hung has actually been waiting to receive corrective heart surgery since 2012! Complications from hemophilia and poor health made his surgery incredibly risky for such a young age; you can tell by his mom’s very worried face that his condition was very serious. He finally received his surgery in late June 2015, which was deemed successful, and was discharged less than 2 weeks later! Hung now has a lifetime of health ahead of him and will be able to enjoy a full and happy childhood.
Binh is one of the first recipients of MEDRIX sponsorship for adult heart surgeries. Binh is a 29 year old rice farmer trying to support his wife and 4 year old child, as well as help his father, with only a sixth-grade education. He came in to meet MEDRIX to discuss heart surgery sponsorship with his concerned father with him–which goes to show that at no matter what age, parents will always be worried about their child’s health! Binh received successful heart surgery in March 2015 and was discharged in good health less than 10 days later. Now he will be able to lead a more productive life supporting his family, thanks to MEDRIX donors!
Little Anh was only 8 months old when she was approved for heart surgery sponsorship by MEDRIX, and underwent corrective surgery almost immediately. Her family were able to save up enough money to travel to Hue for surgery, but needed assistance covering the actual procedure. Anh did very well, and was discharged with a clean bill of health only a week after surgery! Anh will never have to know a life with congenital heart defects or poor health, and it is thanks to MEDRIX donors!
In 2014 MEDRIX was able to reconnect with two former heart surgery recipients. Kieu and Nhu were kind enough to tell a bit of their stories in their own words to share with MEDRIX donors and supporters who helped make their life-changing heart surgeries possible.
Kieu was 16 years old when she underwent life changing heart surgery in 2011. Kieu was devastated by her diagnosis of having pulmonary arterial hypertension–she was becoming more and more exhausted and unable to keep up with her school work and her 11 km commute to school (by bike!) She underwent corrective surgery, but didn’t return to school right away due to continued exhaustion. Her mother, fearing that school would be too difficult for Kieu, was hesitant to have her return. Thankfully, Kieu was able to secure bike rides from classmates until her strength returned–today she is a 19 year old student at Hue Medical College! She is studying to be a pharmacist.
Nhu was a 19 year old college student in 2012 and very excited to have been accepted in a special college program specifically for poor children. Nhu was originally diagnosed with a heart defect when she was 8, but due to financial difficulties, her family was not able to provide for heart surgery. Nhu struggled through her heart defect and received excellent grades in high school, but had a difficult time keeping up in physical education classes in college. Her fatigue was mounting with every step, and she was eventually reassessed by her doctor, who recommended surgery. MEDRIX was able to provide Nhu with a heart surgery sponsorship, which was successful. Nhu returned to college and is majoring in Biology, wanting to be a Biology teacher.
Xay is 14 years old and has seven brothers and sisters, living with his family in Quang Tri where health access can be difficult and the poverty of the region can complicated the lives of its people. For the past few years, Xay was feeling chronically tired, unable to keep up with school activities, or help his father, who hunts and gathers food in the forest. He was really ready for surgery and to “get on with [his] life!” When asked if he was nervous at all about the surgery, he simply stated, “No, I haven’t experienced it yet, so I don’t have any fear.” Xay recovered quickly and was discharged in March 2014. He wants to eventually become a primary school teacher.
Vu was only 2 months old when it was discovered that he was suffering from both a heart defect and pneumonia. It was becoming increasingly difficult for him to breathe, and his parents worried a lot about the cost of heart surgery. His father works as a laborer in the rice field of A Luoi, about 75 km away from the hospital in Hue, and the family only earns about $25/month. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and supporters, MEDRIX was able to partner with another organization to take care of Vu’s medical expenses, as well as travel expenses for Vu’s mother–water, accommodations, transportation–while little Vu awaited life-changing heart surgery. Vu was discharged in late March 2014 and has been given a clean bill of health! His parents joyfully look forward to Vu someday attending school and living out a normal and happy childhood. In 2016 the MEDRIX team reunited with Vu and his mother in A Luoi: his mom looks very happy and Vu looks like a healthy and content toddler!
Thuong was 13 years old and in the 8th grade when she underwent surgery in 2013. She is the youngest of three children born to parents who collect the drippings of sap from rubber trees to make a living. The family lives high in the mountains. Thuong was born with a hole in the atrium of her heart and a deformity in her left hand. She is left-handed on top of all that, a cultural difficulty in itself. Despite these challenges, which Thuong is already overcoming, she hopes to be a doctor someday. She had her heart surgery in 2013 and recovered very well. We think that the picture of her post-surgery with a huge smile on her face says it all!
Thoa was 16 years old and in 2012 had to leave school because he was suffering from extreme fatigue, brought on by his heart condition. His condition results in very low levels of oxygen in the blood stream which contributes to his exhaustion. He loves to play soccer, enjoys painting, going to school, and spending time with his friends. His mother is a farmer and his father worked in construction before an accident left him unable to work. Thoa had surgery in late 2012 and spent a couple of days in the ICU in serious condition. We are happy to report that he improved fully and is now living a normal teenage life again. The healthy picture of him post surgery is a joy to see.
Little Ny was six years old and had such a distinct heart defect that it could be seen and heard without the aid of stethoscope. Her heart made a “whoosing” sound with each beat. The defect was discovered when Ny was born, but the family did not have the money to pay for the surgery she needed to fix the problem. MEDRIX was thrilled to be able to step in and give this adorable little girl a chance to live a more normal life, thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners. Ny had surgery in 2012 and was able to go home quickly to spent time with her family.