Over the weekend, a Shanghai hospital managed to save an 8-day-old baby from Mongolia who was suffering from life-threatening congenital heart disease in a race against time and bad weather when Typhoon Lekima battered the city.
“The baby is in stable condition now with a strong heartbeat and a ruddy complexion. He’ll grow up as healthily as other children,” said Jia Bing, chief surgeon in the newborn’s operation and director of the cardiovascular center at the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University.
It was the second time that the hospital had successfully treated a child suffering from congenital heart disease through cross-border medical rescue. The first instance, which happened in April, also involved a newborn from Mongolia.
“We heard from local doctors that the Shanghai hospital had successfully saved a baby who had a similar condition from Mongolia, and therefore we came to seek help,” said Tegshbuyan Jamsran, 29, the boy’s father. “Our family really appreciates the Chinese doctors’ efforts to save our son.”
The baby was born in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, on Aug 2. Upon birth, his complexion was blue and purple. Doctors later found that the infant suffered from a severe congenital heart defect in which the two main arteries connected to the heart are reversed.
Experts explained that such a disease can be life-threatening, as it leads to severe deprivation of oxygen in organs and tissues. Surgical operation is the only way to save such a child.
The boy’s parents were introduced to the Shanghai hospital through Mongolian doctors. Experts in the Shanghai hospital participated in medical consultations online and arranged a cross-border rescue.
The plan was for the boy and his parents to fly to Shanghai on Saturday, with a layover in Beijing. But after reaching Beijing, their flight to Shanghai was canceled due to Typhoon Lekima, which battered the city from Friday evening through Saturday, bringing gales and rainstorms.
All high-speed rail tickets from Beijing to Shanghai were sold out. Officials at the hospital contacted the railway authority for assistance and obtained tickets for the infant, who relied on an infusion pump throughout the journey, and his parents.
The newborn was rushed to the hospital after arriving in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon, and a three-hour surgery was performed successfully. Medical staff, including the surgical team, anesthesiologists and the intensive care team, were called to the hospital despite the bad weather.
Jia said that congenital heart disease is the primary cause of death for children under age 5 in China. “The boy’s disease was serious but was cured with timely surgery,” he said.
The Shanghai hospital said that as a national-level children’s medical center, it is committed to establishing more international collaboration, allowing more of the latest clinical developments to benefit patients from countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.