Children with heart defects to benefit from new procedure at QEH

Children who suffer from Atrial Septal Defects in Barbados will soon receive the treatment that they need thanks to the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust.

The trust has donated BBD$400,000* worth of surgical devices to the Pediatrics Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as they undergo a special mission called “Save a Child’s Heart”.  The devices will make it possible for the acute pediatric cardiac intervention to be performed in Barbados for the first time.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony held at the Sandy Lane Country Lane on Wednesday, Sandy Lane Trustee Phillipa Challis, revealed that the surgeries to help children who have ‘holes in their hearts’ were completed overseas because Barbados did not have the resources. Currently, there are 10 children on the waiting list to receive treatment. This is why she was delighted upon hearing that Dr Bharat Ramchandani, a Pediatric intervention cardiologist, brought his services to the QEH to allow these children to have a better life.

Challis stated that the journey to begin this programme was not an easy one. Due to a lack of government funding, the surgical devices needed could not be afforded. Sandy Lane Trust decided to take matters into their own hands and buy the equipment themselves.

“We fight to give support to that part of the population that cannot help themselves, so nothing frustrates us more than corporate red tape and workplace politics” she stated.

Challis mentioned that for the past 16 years, the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust have spent approximately $65 million dollars on the children, $370,000 per annum of this has gone to the implementation of six counsellors in primary schools. Additionally, $1.4 million wholly funds The Sunshine School. They have also provided several free hearing aids in the last five years through the Sandy Lane Hearing-aid Bank.

“The projects are not the large building projects that come with the fanfare and the media exposure but are the much needed fundamental programmes that in these difficult times we have still had to find the funding to sustain”. 

She also mentioned that this is not the first time the trust has been donated to the QEH hospital. They have replaced chairs in the children’s wards and bought various much-needed equipment for the ward.

Dr Ramchandani who was also present at the ceremony disclosed that these donated surgical devices will allow the procedure to be completed in one day which will result in minimal disruption of the child’s life.

Ramchandani is hopeful that in 2021, the initiative not only is in Barbados but in the wider Caribbean.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article had BBD $40,000 in error. It is $400,000.

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