Posted on 17 October, 2016

This is the day, the day the surgical review team decide which child gets treatment and who doesn’t. It’s not an easy thing to go through. They have to weigh up and choose the child who is most likely to survive and flourish in the future.The future has no guarantees for any of us, but for these children some have better odds than others.


They all deserve a heart operation, but because the team is only here for a week, they can only do so many in that time. If these children were back home they would all be operated on, but here, the choice must be made.

The team takes into account the limited resources and the skills of the local medical team.They try to choose children whose post-operative care will be simple and straightforward for the local medical staff.

Putting a child with a complicated heart condition through a dramatic operation, only to then have to fly home, leaving them to be cared for by staff without the experience to manage it would be cruel and the child may very well die.


So it’s the day of choice.The Burmese and the Open Heart International medical teams gather in a conference. With the surgeons, the cardiologist, paediatric intensivist, perfusionists, nurses and trainees, it’s a full house and with a collaborative approach they decide who is most suitable for the following weeks life saving operations.

With the patient’s heart up on a big white screen, the ward manager ushers in the little child in question. He doesn’t know his life may depend on the outcome of this moment.

As he looks innocently around you can’t help but pray he is chosen.

And he is.

Tags:  Myanmar,