Costa Rica Surgeons Correct Newborn’s Severe Heart Problem US Clinics Refused To Treat

According to the CIA in Grand Cayman the GDP per capita (PPP) is US$43,800 (2004 est.) and the same source, shows Costa Rica with a GDP per capita (PPP) of US$10,900 (2009 est.) yet, when it was time to have some emergency heart surgery performed on a nine day old baby born in Grand Cayman, the mother of little Rigoberto Rivers flew to Costa Rica after she was turned down by clinics in the USA.

“It was a challenge… A tiny baby’s life is so fragile,” said the cardiovascular surgeon
who was in charge of the intervention. “It took us two days to make the diagnosis and stabilize him for the surgery. The baby also had a bleeding problem, infections and was very unbalanced,” he added.

Jorge Cortes, director of the Clinica Biblica Hospital stated that: “Costa Rica has the human talent and the technological equipment that could treat him and give him life.”

The narrow part of baby Rigoberto’s aorta measured one millimeter in width, while the norm is four millimeters, and it was this problem which prevented the blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body.

The procedure consisted of cutting the narrowest part of the aorta and inserting a “patch”, a tube of a material known as Gore-Tex that allows blood to flow smoothly and lets the aorta grow normally as the baby grows.

The operation took just under five hours; “Fortunately, there were no major complications and the baby is responding well to treatment,” said Carlos Paniagua, the neonatal pediatrician.

“I thank God I was able to travel to Costa Rica, here the quality of doctors managed to save the life of my son,” said the baby’s mother.

Our thanks to our friends at La Nación – Costa Rica’s largest and most influential Spanish circulation newspaper for their permission to summarize their articles.

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