We were contacted by the Raparin Teaching Hospital with news about a baby girl named Marwa struggling for her life. Her prospects were not looking good. In addition to having an atrial septal defect (ASD), a ventricular septal defect (VSD) and a coarctation of the aorta, her lungs were full of infection. ASD and VSD’s are holes in the upper and lower chambers of the heart present at birth and allow oxygen-rich blood to mix with oxygen-poor blood preventing her oxygen-rich blood from being distributed effectively. Oxygen saturation was dangerously low between 30% and 40% while on oxygen and the doctor’s diagnosis left her with no hope for survival.
We immediately called Dr. Aso, sending him the video and echo that we had. Confirming the urgency of her condition he told us that Marwa’s chances of making it alive by ambulance to his facility in Sulaymaniyah was slim.
Realizing it was her only hope after consulting with the medical team Marwa’s parents decided to go ahead and send Marwa to Dr Aso. Love Them All quickly provided an ambulance for her to travel from Erbil to Dr. Aso’s facility in Sulaymaniyah. There he would do everything he possibly could for Marwa but made sure to inform Marwa’s family of the risks of travel.
With anticipation we watched the nurses place her in the ambulance as she headed off for Sulaymaniyah. We always want to do our best to fight for one child at a time and this was no different.
We can still remember the joy in the father’s voice when he called to say that they were close to the hospital in Sulaymaniyah and Marwa was still alive.
Dr. Aso attended to her immediately after arrival, even though it was his day off, putting her on a heart medication that is often very difficult to access here in Iraqi Kurdistan. Thankfully Love Them All had just completed a mission to re-supply the new heart hospital with this medication which gives children like Marwa a chance to live.
Amazingly Marwa slowly began to stabilize as we quickly assisted in the process of applying for her passport. Surprisingly her passport was completed in a day. Since she was not stable enough to fly we had to organize for Marwa to go by ambulance to a neighbouring country. After 17 hours of travel via three different ambulances she made it there alive.
With doctor Aso’s connections she was able to get the heart surgery she desperately needed soon after she arrived. She ended up staying there for 2 months having three open heart surgeries and is now back home, happy and healthy.
Thank you for being part of Marwa’s love story. Join us as we continue to make a difference for children just like Marwa.