Salute Courage of Li’l Fighters With Heart Defects: Sanjay Kapoor
God has been very kind to my family and me – He has given us an opportunity to give back to society in our small way, and that is what we have been doing. However, I often felt that there was so much more that we could do directly and indirectly. And I realised that there is nothing more valuable than contributing one’s own time to good causes. Time is a finite resource, and the choice we make to give a part of it to a cause really makes a difference – not only to the cause, but also to us.
I have been associated with Genesis Foundation for over three years, participating in the fund-raisers, contributing to the cause. As the association grew stronger, so did the urge to do more. And then, on May 11, I woke up to a morning where I set out to meet four critically ill children (between the ages of 4 months to 11 years) suffering from heart disorders, and being supported by GF’s Save Little Hearts endeavour. My fervour was that of an impatient young kid – I couldn’t wait to get to Max Hospital Saket to meet Manish, Aryan, Shiva and Lalit, and see how they were doing post their surgeries.
I had heard about the great job that Dr KS Dagar and his team were doing to give these ailing kids a fair chance in life, but it was fascinating to hear from the Super Doc himself that once the surgery is successful and the child is out of the hospital he or she is virtually cured for life! Isn’t this amazing and overwhelming? This is despite the fact that neonatal and congenital heart surgeries are a lot more complex and specialised.
While the intervention of surgeons is magical, the resilience of these little fighters makes their job easier. The reward for such doctors can be measured in perpetuity. Can you imagine how the child, all grown up, will meet the doctor sometime-somewhere and thank the latter for giving him/her a gift of life and opportunities? What can be more gratifying for a human being? The Hippocratic Oath of a doctor is put to a litmus test when a doctor is questioned about what he remembers the most after such surgeries and the reply is: “I try to recollect my failures and reflect on what could have been done better.”
Despite this, we have a high mortality rate among juvenile patients with heart diseases. There are many reasons for this. It requires expensive treatment – and for parents with limited means, the costs are prohibitive. Then, there are those parents who are uneducated and are confused and delay the treatment. Finally, there is a genuine supply-demand gap for doctors in this space. For these and other reasons, over 90% cases of paediatric heart disorders do not receive timely attention, resulting in premature death or lifelong disability.
The problem is acute but would be surmountable if there were more volunteers and donors for programmes like Save Little Hearts. We need more organisations like Genesis Foundation and more committed teams like Dr Dagar’s team of medical professionals in hospitals across India.
With these thoughts in my head, I walked out of the hospital feeling optimistic. The children, smiling in spite of their suffering; their humble parents, imagining a normal life for their son Aryan (the 4-month-old boy recovering post a successful surgery) – all of them gave me reason to hope. My motivation was high and my resolve to keep coming back with support was at its zenith!
It was easily one of the most blissful and rewarding days of my life.
(Sanjay Kapoor is Consultant & Entrepreneur, Nurturing Start-Ups)
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