Local organization heals children with heart defects

Children from developing countries treated in San Antonio

Author: David Sears, Reporter, dsears@ksat.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:49:06 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 11 2013 10:30:00 PM CST

Several children from developing countries are alive and leading normal lives today thanks to doctors and medical professionals in San Antonio, and it's all because of an organization called HeartGift.

The patients all have heart defects and are brought to Children’s Hospital of San Antonio to be made whole again.

"When our patients arrive, many of them are tired, weak, they're not eating well, their color is bad they are very lethargic," said Leslie Met with HeartGift.

Dr. Adil Husain, chief pediatric in cardiothoracic surgery, said the goal is to put patients on the "same playing field with all the other kids their age when they return home."

The doctors and medical staff donate their time for more than just surgeries at the hospital.

“We bring the community together to hold their hands, make them feel comfortable in a place far away from home. Many of them have never left their countries before, never been on an airplane," said Met.

After surgery, a San Antonio family takes in the child and their family to help them recover for up to five weeks.

"I think it’s a wonderful opportunity not just for the kids, for all the people involved with HeartGift. [They're] grateful for the experiences they get from the families that come over, " said Dr Husain.

The organization helped six children last year and they hope to help between six and eight this year.

The cost is about $25,000. The group receives support from other organizations, such as the Cocktail Conference, which donated $50,000 last year. Their conference is scheduled from January 17th to the 20th.

“We really rely on a community effort here at HeartGift,” Met said.

For more information, visit HeartGift's web site.

For a list of recent stories by David Sears, click here.