Haitian Boy's Open-Heart Surgery is a Success

Apr 16, 2010, 19:34 ET from Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A 7-year-old boy who was brought to the United States to have his congenital heart defect repaired had successful open-heart surgery Thursday at the Children's Center at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento by pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Teimour Nasirov, M.D., and assisted by Mohan Reddy, M.D., an internationally renowned pediatric heart surgeon from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

The boy was discovered in Haiti by a Sacramento fire captain while volunteering at a clinic in Carrefour, Haiti. The boy, Lovensky Alexandre, had a ventricular septal defect – a large hole between the two major chambers of the heart – and was brought to the clinic by his mother, Roselene Ducelus, because the earthquake leveled the family's home and Lovensky's medicine was missing. Fire Capt. Barbie Law saw how frail the boy was and contacted Sutter pediatric cardiologist Hessam Fallah, M.D., who petitioned Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento to perform the boy's surgical repair for free. All doctors and the medical center are donating their services.

"Every child born in the United States with a congenital heart defect has the opportunity to have it repaired while in their infancy, either through private insurance or Medicare or Medicaid," said Gregory Janos, M.D., pediatric cardiologist and medical director of the Children's Center at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. "It's very rewarding for us to help a child from a Third World country who doesn't have similar access to this surgery, and be able to send him back home much healthier than he would be otherwise."

Law brought Lovensky and Roselene, who speak Creole, to the United States, and they were introduced to Sutter employee Pierre LaGuerre, who grew up in Haiti and volunteers as a Creole interpreter. They have spent much time with his family, and Lovensky became quick friends with Pierre's son, Jepsen, 9.

Dr. Nasirov is the full-time pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at the Children's Center at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, a children's hospital within Sutter Memorial Hospital. The surgery lasted 3 1/2 hours on Thursday, and Lovensky is expected to be released from the hospital next week. He and his mother will stay in Sacramento with Law for a few more weeks for post-operative check-ups.

MEDIA ALERT: A media availability will be held upon Lovensky's release from the hospital. For details, contact Gary Zavoral  (916) 454-6825 zavorag@sutterhealth.org.

SOURCE Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento