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|Sunday, July 09, 2000, updated at 10:30(GMT+8)|
Mainland Kids Saved by Heart Surgery in HKTan Rong, a three-year-old girl from the Chinese mainland with congenital heart defects, paid farewell to Hong Kong jubilantly Saturday after a successful heart surgery.
Tan Rong, from a secluded village of the inland province of Anhui, together with a four-year-old boy from the province of Guangdong, are two lucky kids who were born in impoverished families but chosen by Hong Kong Children's Heart Fund for charge- free heart surgical correction.
"I am so happy, and I cannot describe it," said Sheng Siuxiong, mother of the girl, who, in the past three years, has impotently seen her only daughter suffering from repeated pneumonia and spending the majority of her first year of life in hospital.
It was until September 1998 that Sheng was told for the first time by doctors that her daughter had a congenital heart disease in the form of a 1.8-cm hole between the two upper chambers and needed surgical correction.
How can a peasant family afford an expensive heart surgical correction?
Having waited in desperation for more than a year, the family was informed in May this year by the Shanghai Children's Medical Center that Tan Rong would get help from the Hong Kong Children's Heart Fund, which has helped about five mainland children with congenital heart disease.
Like Tan Rong, four-year-old Yeung Tin-lun from Zhongshan of Guangdong province, also suffered from congenital heart disease and cannot walk far. Children similar to him normally do not live more than ten years without surgery, doctors said.
After a surgery two days before Tan Rong, Tin-lun can now "walk more than 10 meters without a rest," the boy's father, Yeung Yat- fung, said. His mother, Ho Siu-may, hoped her son would grow up with a kind heart knowing "he has been saved by donations from kind-hearted people."
Seven out of 1,000 babies are born with congenital heart diseases, but not all of them need surgery correction, according to doctors at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, which carried out operations for the two mainland children.
Hong Kong Children's Heart Fund has been helping Hong Kong children with congenital heart diseases starting from 1991. Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland in 1997, the help has been extended to mainland children.
During a scientific meeting in Shanghai last winter, the Children Heart Fund reached an agreement with two mainland major children medical centers, including Shanghai medical center, to carry out charge-free heart surgical correction for impoverished mainland children.
After Tan Rong and Yeung Tin-lun, more mainland children with congenital heart defects are expected to arrive in Hong Kong for surgical correction, doctors at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital said.
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