Kerala Minister makes a heart-to-heart offer to save baby


15-day-old with congenital cardiac condition is being treated under the State’s Hridyam project

It was a medical drama that had entire Kerala on edge on Tuesday.

A 15-day-old infant boy, with a congenital heart disease and multiple cardiac problems, was being rushed from a hospital in Mangaluru to Thiruvananthapuram by road — a distance of about 600 km — through a green channel. His parents had apparently been persuaded to seek treatment in the State capital despite the risk of transporting the seriously ill baby.

It took the personal intervention of Kerala’s Health Minister K.K. Shylaja to convince the parents to accept an offer of free treatment by the State government.

Senior health officials told that the District Early Intervention Centre of the Health Department at Kasaragod had contacted the person coordinating the green channel arrangements at 10 a.m. to say that the government’s Hridyam programme could treat the infant for free in Kozhikode or Kochi, considerably reducing the travel time.

However, the family did not respond to the offer. “Around 2 p.m., after the child had been on the road for almost five hours in a ventilated condition, following a call from Ms. Shylaja, we again contacted the family… But till the Health Minister herself got in touch with the parents, they were not willing to change their plans,” an official said.

Following the Minister’s call, the baby was rushed to the paediatric cardiology division at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Kochi.

The Health Department is coordinating all arrangements at the hospital under

Kerala’s unique and comprehensive programme Hridyam, that takes care of all congenital paediatric cardiac surgeries, including emergencies, through a public-private partnership network of hospitals.

Dr. R. Krishna Kumar, head of the Paediatric Cardiology Department at AIMS, said the baby’s condition was critical and he would be in observation in the NICU for 24-48 hours to stabilise the condition.


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