Heart patients to get free surgeries - But require blood donations for procedures

January 02, 2020
Abi-Gaye Smythe
Ten adolescents who suffered from rheumatic heart disease and other prevalent cardiac valve abnormalities got valve replacement surgeries last year.

Some 14 persons are set to benefit from free heart surgeries later this month, through a partnership between Abi-Gaye Smythe’s ‘I have a heart Foundation’ and the Organisation for International Development.

Smythe, 26, suffers from a heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD). She started the ‘I have a heart Foundation’ in 2013, with the hope of raising awareness about various heart conditions, and to get help for persons suffering from heart disease.

Ten adolescents and young adults, who suffered from rheumatic heart disease and other prevalent cardiac valve abnormalities, got valve replacement surgeries last year. The Organisation for Strategic Development, the University Hospital of the West Indies, Dr Daniel Goldstein, and friends of Montefiore Medical Center joined in that effort.

Fourteen persons have been chosen for similar procedures this year.

“The surgeries start on the 13th to the 17th. Some of them have at most five years to live, without the surgery,” she said.

Smythe is now seeking to mobilise the nation to help these patients as they will need blood.

“These surgeries require a lot of blood. For one patient, they may need up to seven units of blood and we are doing over 10 patients,” she said.

A blood drive is planned for January 11 at the Chest Hospital in Kingston. It will take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Last year we got 50 units of blood, and this time I am hoping to get at least 100 units of blood, so I am asking persons to come out,” she said.

“The blood drive is not only for this mission but to help the Blood Bank’s supply, especially with this dengue crisis, where a lot of people post on social media asking for blood for their children. We want a vast supply to be here,” she said.

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