Thursday, October 04, 2007

Heart Life

Meet Tee Hui Yi.

Thie 14-year-old has been living in the National Heart Institute (IJN) for the past 1 year after receiving a mechanical heart.

I was there at the ICU in November 2006, that's about a month after the surgery that gave her some time while waiting for a donor heart. The device was placed outside her body as it couldn't fit inside her small frame.

That time she just got off the ventilator, and can finally speak. Although her voice was still quite weak, we managed to interview her. She mentioned she wants to go back to gymnastics and netball some day.

We did another feature about her recently for MedikTV Merdeka special, about 9 months after my last visit. She was a whole lot healthier compared to the last time I met her. Moving around with her battery pack and was eating well too.

She is prone to infections which makes the task of taking care of her a bit more complicated. She needs to be at her best condition when a suitable heart is found, she would be well enough to go through the emergency surgery.

Over one year, the media featured her progress and pledge for the public to register as organ donor, with hopes that Tee will receive a heart. But to no avail.

30 Sept 2007 - a year after receiving the mechanical heart, press went all out campaigning to find a heart for her. Within a week, today to be precise, she received the news she has been waiting for.

Medical personnel transporting the organ on board the RMAF craft at the Ipoh airport.

The family of a 15-year-old accident victim from Ipoh donated the heart and lungs to IJN. While waiting for the organ to arrive and as preparation, Tee was wheeled in to the operation theater at 10 pm, the heart reached IJN around 1 am. The operation ended some time this afternoon.

I wonder how she felt when she got the news. I can't imagine her mother's joy either. After all, she also made IJN her new home since a year back. I am very happy for Tee. Hope her recovery goes smoothly.

pictures by NST