TAMIL NADU

Online plea saves Sudanese boy

ON ROAD TO RECOVERY: Mohamed Mahmud from Sudan (centre), who underwent a surgery to correct a congenital heart defect in Chennai.

ON ROAD TO RECOVERY: Mohamed Mahmud from Sudan (centre), who underwent a surgery to correct a congenital heart defect in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K. Pichumani

Ramya Kannan

Mohamed Mahmud was operated upon for a heart defect

CHENNAI: Here is proof that the World Wide Web indeed has a heart. A heart that’s warm, welcoming and that will reach out to the needy.

Mohamed Mahmud (4), of Sudan, has just been healed, thanks to the long reach of the Internet.

It was six months after he was born that doctors discovered that the boy had a congenital heart defect: a hole between the two pumping chambers of the heart.

So more blood was rushing into his lungs, raising its pressure. He was breathless, would not feed, was not gaining weight and had palpitations and a lung infection.

Little facility

It seemed as if it was the end of the road for him, as his father was a labourer earning just enough to keep the family together. Where would he go for the money required to patch up his son’s heart? Treatment in Sudan was out of question as no facilities were available.

That meant the boy had to go to Syria, Jordan or Dubai, where the cost would run into several thousand American dollars.

But that was until he met a young Sudanese woman at the hospital.

When she heard Mahmud’s story and saw the boy listless and crying against his mother’s chest, she decided to get involved.

She thought the best idea would be to put the story online ( >www.sudaneseonline.com) in the belief that the Sudanese who read it would be moved to save Mahmud. She was dead right. Contributions poured in from the Sudanese.

Meanwhile, it was decided to take the boy to India, to Frontier Lifeline Hospital, where the treatment would be good and affordable.

A sum of $5,000 and airfare for the boy to travel to India to repair his heart was collected, says Sameer, the boy’s relative, who has accompanied Mahmud and his father, Mahmud Sayed, to Chennai. The pair, who had scarcely ever been out of their Khartoum suburb, took a flight along with Sameer.

On Wednesday, when they take a flight back home, Mahmud will be able to walk onto the plane.

Perfect timing

R. Prem Sekar, interventional paediatric cardiologist, Frontier Lifeline, said the timing was perfect. More delay might have been fatal.

A team of surgeons under Dr. Cherian and Christopher Roy, performed the surgery that set Mahmud back on his feet again.

Surly at being taken away from his cycle so that photographers could click pictures, the shy boy misses his mother and cannot wait to return home.

It is not surprising that the boy who had been given the most precious gift —life— is thinking about taking gifts for friends back home.

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