Ammar Yasir will never forget that moment saying goodbye to his 21-month-old son, whom he and his wife had brought from their home in Iraq.
"I lost it," he recalls. "I remember our doctor trying to comfort me and telling me he really believed he was in the best hands. He said, 'If I didn't believe that I wouldn't be here'. Today, Baby Ammar Yasir is a thriving 2-year-old with proud parents who will thankfully experience the joy of seeing their child grow up healthy and happy.
The family's journey began in April 2016; Ammar Yasir’s wife Mays Anees Kamal Sarakahya delivered Baby Ammar at a local hospital near their home in Iraq.
Doctors in the neonatal intensive care unit noticed a heart murmur in Baby Ammar. After echocardiography, they diagnosed him with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a congenital heart defect that is typically defined by a combination of four anatomical abnormalities of the heart.
When Ammar Yasir and Mays Anees, were told Baby Ammar would need open heart surgery, "Our whole world felt like it was caving in," he recalls.
The family suggested the couple to take Baby Ammar to India. There are many best pediatric cardiologist in India and have considerable experience with infants with congenital heart defects, like TOF. With that in mind, the family reached out to Vaidam for support in finding an appropriate hospital in India.
The couple was given multiple options of the best hospitals for pediatric heart surgery in India and doctors in India but eventually decided to go with Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI) in New Delhi. After the family sent Baby Ammar’s medical records to Vaidam, they made the necessary travel arrangement to India.
Arriving in New Delhi on the 20th of May, 2018, the family was picked up from the airport by a Vaidam health representative who accompanied the family to the hospital. The necessary appointments were all taken care of; it was only a matter of time before the surgery.
On 25th May, Baby Ammar headed into surgery. Before the procedure, Ammar Yasir and his wife met with Dr. KS Iyer, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at FEHI.
"It's terrifying when you're meeting the surgeon who is going to operate on your son's heart," he recalls. "But it was calming to hear Dr. Iyer explain the procedure and what had to be done and how it would work."
The surgery went well. Because of the medical equipment required after open heart surgery, such as a chest tube, pacemaker wire and arterial lines, it was three days before Baby Ammar’s parents could hold him.
Baby Ammar was in the hospital for a week after surgery. He and his parents stayed in New Delhi for a further 2 weeks before returning to their home country. "We were able to celebrate Eid with him at home," Yasir says, "and that was one of the best Eids we had."
After returning to Iraq, Baby Ammar was required to see a cardiologist at least twice, but the good news is that he is progressing very well. The overjoyed parents are glad about their decision to come to India: “The way that the team was, the nurse and all of them, they're so compassionate," he says.
We pray for the quick and complete recovery of Baby Ammar and a healthy and fulfilling life ahead.