Muscat: A 10-year-old Indian girl died of congenital heart failure, despite doctors trying their best to save her.
Ayesha Fatima, a student of Indian School Al Maabela, died of heart failure on Thursday, February 7. She was born with two holes and was missing a critical vein in her heart, had undergone corrective surgery to address the condition at birth, and had a follow-up operation a year-and-a-half later.
Ayesha, who was born on September 22, 2008, had been complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing the previous night when she was out with her mother and younger brother and sister.
She was rushed to the nearest hospital, where doctors did everything to help her, but could not save her life.
Indian School Al Maabela has also passed on their condolences to the family. In a statement, the school said, “Indian School Al Maabela expresses its heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of Ayesha Fatima, class V-B, on Thursday, 07/02/2019. We pray to the Almighty for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family members and relatives. May her soul rest in peace.”
In the wake of this tragic incident, Abdul Wahid Khan, Ayesha’s father, asked other parents who had children who suffered from health problems to give them all the attention they required, so that any difficulties they had could be addressed in time, adding that Ayesha had been born with these heart defects.
“She was born in Oman, but before she was born, the doctors didn’t inform us of her heart defects,” said Khan, who has been living in Oman for about 18 years.
“Immediately after she was born, the doctors told us that she had two holes in her heart, and one of her veins was missing. She was moved to a public hospital and the surgery was done the very next day. The doctors told us that this would last for about a year and a half, and she might need further surgery after that,” said Khan.
“They also told us that treatment here would be expensive, so it would be better to go to India. They recommended two places in Bangalore and Chennai,” said her father
“We went to Chennai and met with the hospital there, and then went to Bangalore. We were told that if we could hold off on the surgery, then it was better that we did, because if her current surgery was enabling her to function well, then there was no need for more surgery,” he explained.
“Otherwise, she would need an operation every five years, until she turned 21 or 22, or whenever the surgery was required. A year and a half after her initial surgery, we performed the next surgery in Bangalore, and the doctor also gave us pills to handle her condition.”
About a couple of months ago, Ayesha told her family that she had difficulty climbing the staircases in school, so her family decided to hire a home tutor. She aced her school exams soon afterwards, and so her parents and schoolteachers decided to let the arrangement continue. Likely influenced by her existing condition, Ayesha wanted to become a cardiologist when she grew up, so that she could help others affected by such conditions.
“I then had to travel to India, and the night before she passed away, her mother took the three children to Naseem Garden, and she said then that she had difficulty breathing, so we rushed her to a nearby hospital. The doctors there tried everything, but her time had come.”
“I found out that night, and took the first flight back to Oman. For now, we will stay here, as we have many responsibilities towards our other children, and our own business here. Her younger brother and sister think that their sister has gone out somewhere, and every night and morning, keep asking us when she will come back. I have not told them yet of what has happened to her, but I will need to soon. How can I keep this from them?”
Khan asked other parents who had young children to ensure any health problems they had were dealt with properly.
“My advice to all other parents is to take care and be alert about any difficulty your child has,” he urged. “We had to continuously increase the dosage of pills Ayesha required, and later we also found out that she had bad gas, maybe as a side-effect of the pills. If your child has any health conditions, please take proper care of him/her.”
Dr Benny Panakkal, senior consultant interventional cardiologist at Badr Al Sama’a Hospital, explained to Times of Oman the harm a congenital heart issue can cause. “One of the most common cases we see are holes in the heart, which require surgery to be fixed. Another problem we see is called transposition, which is when the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs and the body are improperly connected,” he revealed. “Sometimes, what may happen is that the blood which is drained through the left side of the heart may drain through the right side, and vice versa. When this happens, de-oxygenated blood could travel through the body, instead of oxygenated blood, and this causes the person to become extremely tired and fatigued, and gives them a bluish complexion because they aren’t receiving sufficient oxygen.”
Panakkal added, “In the heart, the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood are supposed to mix, but if they don’t mix, there could be issues of a heart attack right after birth. To correct this, surgeons today perform what is called an atrial septoplasty, where there is a small hole made between the left and right chambers of the heart, so that the blood can mix. Another issue that can happen is that the other coronary veins and arteries are not properly formed, so this can lead to a decrease of blood, or blood going to the wrong areas of the body. There are corrective surgeries available, but doctors and parents need to detect this at the earliest.”