Visiting surgeons save 841 Fijians lives, and counting

Open heart surgery patients Ifereimi Waqanikalou 11, Luke Ravuga 9 and Esava Tiko 11 enjoy blowing bubbles at CWM Hospital yesterday. The trio had a succesful open heart operation by the Open Heart International medical team. Picture: RAMA

A TOTAL of 841 lives in Fiji have been saved by the Open Heart International team in the past 25 years since coming to Fiji to conduct free open heart surgeries.

This was confirmed by Open Heart International general manager Michael Were yesterday.

Mr Were said the team which was in Fiji this year, carried out 30 surgeries on adults and children at the Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital earlier this week.

“The two main types of heart condition that we’re involved in is the congenital heart defects where children are born with a hole in their heart that affects about one in 100 babies,” Mr Were said.

“The other part is rheumatic heart disease — that’s people who have had rheumatic fever and the fever actually breaks down the valves in your heart and what we are doing is valve replacement surgery.

“We’re about providing high-quality surgery to the best candidates and we want to make sure that the patients we have operated on have a really good success.”

He said there had been a number of medical teams from abroad visiting Fiji and the most important issue was to make the patients happy and healthy.

“The partnership with the Ministry of Health is important and that we play a part in the strategic direction of what the ministry wants, so we’ve taken care of cardiac patients in this country,” he said.

Mr Were said the team had plans to conduct more workshops and do more work with the nurses and doctors.