An Overseas Filipino Worker in Dubai finally got the best gift this Christmas – a heart that’s not defective.
Jennifer Rose Diaz, 29-years-old, called her mother in the Philippines after taking a full night’s sleep, speaking without catching for breath. This is the first time in a long time, thanks to the doctors at the Al Zahra Hospital in Sharjah.
Dr. Rafik Abu Samrah, the consultant cardiologist, was the one who conducted the breakthrough surgery after he changed Diaz’s two heart valves and repaired the third one as it was damaged due to Rheumatic Heart Disease.
Diaz, who works as an accountant in Ras Al Khaimah, felt really difficult to live a normal life.
“For as long as I can remember I have had a weak heart. It was getting worse each year,” says Diaz. I was often breathless and had such severe palpitation that I could literally hear my heart hammering against my ribs. This kept me awake at night and very tired.
Meanwhile, Dr. Abu Samrah explained the condition of Diaz.
“Jennifer may have had a rheumatic fever some time ago. This usually starts with a streptococcus infection in the throat and rapidly moves to damage the heart muscle. In her case the weak heart muscle condition was life threatening,” says Dr. Samrah.
“Normally the space in the Mitral Valve of the heart is 2.5mm. In Jennifer’s case,space had shrunk to 0.5mm. In addition, two more valves had been damaged,” he added.
“The patient could not lead a normal life and there was a threat of the valve shutting down, leading to heart failure, if the procedure was not carried out.”
Diaz almost gives up in getting the surgery because it was high risk and very expensive.
“Other doctors and hospitals I visited told me that not only was the surgery very expensive costing over Dh260,000, it was also high risk, owing to pulmonary hypertension I suffered. All others refused to carry it out before I finally met Dr. Abu Samrah who decided to take this risk,” says Diaz.
Just when Diaz was losing hope that she can live a normal life, Dr. Abu Samrah agreed to pursue the surgery.
The management of Al Zahra hospital agreed to shoulder half the expenses while her insurance company shouldered Dh80,000. The remaining Dh50,000 was raised by Diaz through the help of her friends and loans.
Finally, Diaz is recovering and was able to finally enjoy a good night’s sleep.